The state Democratic Party officially recognized a recently formed Jewish Caucus on Sunday, a few weeks after an earlier vote to do so narrowly failed, drawing national attention and criticism from some prominent North Carolina Democrats.
N.C. Democratic Party Chair Anderson Clayton, announcing the successful vote in a statement Sunday night, said the party’s recognition of the Jewish Caucus sent the message that the Democratic Party “will always be a big tent party.”
“It was incredibly important to us to call this meeting to ensure the Jewish Caucus gets official recognition,” Clayton said. “In a time of divisiveness and heightened emotions and fear, I am proud that tonight we made sure to go into 2024 united. The North Carolina Democratic Party stands against Islamophobia, antisemitism, and any form of hatred against marginalized communities.”
In a statement, caucus president Jeffrey Bierer said the caucus was pleased to have been approved, and grateful for the party’s “strong” statement condemning antisemitism, which he said came “during a time that has become very fraught for the Jewish people around the world.”
“Our values as Jews — in such areas as reproductive rights, fighting voter suppression, combating global warming, supporting reasonable gun control, opposing Muslim bans, and favoring a robust immigration program — are reflected in the platform of the Democratic Party,” Bierer said.
The party’s executive committee voted 31-4 on Sunday to approve the caucus, with four other members abstaining, according to WFAE.
During a vote on Nov. 12, the committee voted 17-16 to deny the caucus formal recognition, according to Jewish Insider. Sixteen other members, including Clayton and all three of the party’s three vice-chairs, voted to abstain.
After that initial vote, a party spokesman said that “procedural issues” led to many of the “no” votes cast that day.
Speaking to WFAE about the vote, however, Ryan Jenkins, president of the party’s Progressive Caucus, said that members of the Jewish Caucus had “done nothing but whine and play the victim and attack people,” and said each of the 16 votes to abstain “was a no vote that didn’t want to get targeted.”
After the caucus was denied recognition, multiple Democratic members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation, as well as Attorney General Josh Stein, the party’s presumed front-runner for governor, said they were disappointed in the outcome of the vote, and called on the party to hold another vote and recognize the caucus as soon as possible.
The vote also drew criticism from Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is his own party’s presumed front-runner for governor, and who has in the past made antisemitic remarks himself.
Robinson said the failed vote was “another sad example” of North Carolina Democrats “refusing to stand with Israel and the Jewish people against terrorism.”