Party official’s wife lashes out at Democratic chairwoman after Israel vote

Serene Varghese responds: ‘Keep talking about Palestine. It’s working.’
U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams also chairs the Democratic Party of Georgia. (Jason Getz/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams also chairs the Democratic Party of Georgia. (Jason Getz/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

The wife of the general counsel for the Democratic Party of Georgia called the party’s chairwoman an expletive and urged her to take a flight on a plane with a history of safety issues after the Atlanta Democrat voted in favor of aid to Israel over the weekend.

Serene Varghese posted the insult on social media in response to a statement from U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams that said the weekend vote aimed to “protect our national security, stand with our allies, and defend humanity.”

Williams was part of a bipartisan coalition that approved $26 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza and other conflict zones.

Varghese, a Palestinian American real estate agent whose husband, Sachin Varghese, is the party’s top lawyer, has long been critical of U.S. foreign policy toward Israel. She has also accused Israel of genocide and said she worries about her family in the Middle East.

This time, though, she aimed directly at Williams, who was first elected to lead the party in 2019.

She called Williams a vulgar name and urged her to fly on a Boeing 737 airplane. Boeing has been under scrutiny for problems with its 737 Max 8 and 9 planes. Her statements brought swift backlash from senior Democrats, including Williams.

“Disagree with me. Call me out. Insult me,” Williams said. “But saying I should take a Boeing 737 on my next flight home, was a veiled way of wishing for my death. It’s not ok. We should not normalize this in political discourse.”

Other Democrats added to the criticism of Varghese. State Rep. Esther Panitch, the only Jewish member of the Legislature, urged Varghese to “get help.” Vincent Fort, once one of the Georgia Senate’s top Democrats, termed her attacks “inexcusable.”

“However much we agree or disagree,” Fort said, “that is unacceptable language.”

Varghese, meanwhile, said in a social media post that she was not sorry. She said officials who vote to send more military aid to Israel, which is in a seven-month-long war against Hamas in Gaza, should “develop a thicker skin.”

Sachin Varghese had no comment.

“Keep talking about Palestine,” Serene Varghese posted on social media in response to Williams. “It’s working.”