Over 200 rabbis publicly signed a letter condemning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for failing to punish Minnesota's Democratic Rep. Illhan Omar for recent comments attacking Israel and the United States.
A controversial statement posted by Omar last week compared the United States and Israel to the likes of Hamas and the Taliban, something that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez swooped in to defend amidst the public fallout afterward.
A major point brought up by the Coalition for Jewish Values letter is that they've been cautious of Omar since Pelosi appointed her to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2019. The letter says that the Madam Speaker had an opportunity back then to address the issue of Omar's rhetoric but failed to do so.
From the get-go in 2019, Omar arrived in Congress with antisemitic baggage.
The letter goes on to say how crucial 2021 is, arguing that addressing antisemitism in Congress would help douse the situation in cities all over the United States.
The letter establishes the grievances against Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota: "Rep. Omar's unfounded assertion that Israel committed 'unthinkable atrocities' by defending lives against an openly genocidal terror organization is not merely offensive, it is pernicious—for it is grounded in the blood libel and the calumny that Jews poisoned wells during the Black Death. Throughout the generations, rivers of blood have been shed by mobs motivated by the incendiary myth of the murderous Jew."
Coalition for Jewish Values goes on to explain that they understand the game of identity politics. By making the criticism against Omar a "black and Muslim" thing, it sidesteps the concerns of the Jewish community, in a cop-out sort of way.
The CJV notes that the critique is non-partisan by pointing out the coalition's recent disavowal of Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust.
What the Coalition for Jewish Values letter was aiming to address stems from an earlier statement of support by Pelosi to stand by Omar amidst controversy.
A reporter asked Pelosi if "further action" would be taken against Omar for her comments. Pelosi shot down the idea, responding: "No, I don't. I think that she clarified her remarks and that was … we accept that … and she has a point that she wanted to make and she has a right to make that point. There was some unease about how it was interpreted, she made her clarification."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy vowed to remove Omar from her committee assignments if the GOP retakes the House next term.
The Coalition for Jewish Values letter says in closing:
"We reiterate that the mob attacks on American Jews today are directly attributable to the rhetoric of Rep. Omar and those who stand with her within and beyond Congress. Rep. Omar’s words are far more dangerous in nature than those of Rep. Greene, and, therefore, the vehement desire to combat antisemitism requires that they be met with at least equal consequence. To protect Jewish Americans and, moreover, safeguard the integrity of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we thus insist upon the removal of Rep. Omar from her appointment"
The recent Israel versus Gaza conflict last month reignited antisemitic attacks around the world. Just last week pro-Palestine protesters raided a Zoom class for students in Hunter College, Manhattan.
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