In a new letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1000 traditional rabbis in matters of public policy, renewed its call for the removal of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee. Just this week, Omar quoted a left-wing activist on Twitter who claimed that Republican leaders were “attacking free speech rights” for condemning anti-Semitism, and Omar indicated that it was “all about the Benjamins,” reviving the ancient anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews using money to control the government.
In its letter, the rabbinic group termed Speaker Pelosi’s condemnation of these hateful remarks “welcome and appreciated,” but also “far too mild a response at this juncture.” The CJV said that anti-Semitism “travels seamlessly between groups with otherwise diverse ideologies” and was a recurring theme in statements coming from Rep. Omar.
In response to condemnation of Ms. Omar’s comments, liberal Jewish groups and others claimed that remarks by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans indicate similar anti-Jewish sentiments. “Left-wing partisans are manufacturing animus from whole cloth,” said Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Managing Director of the CJV, “in order to claim this sort of virulence has a parallel on the Republican side. There is simply no valid comparison — and you will find an astounding level of unanimity from traditional rabbis on this issue. This is incredibly dangerous, as it minimizes real anti-Semitism which cannot be permitted to fester.”
The CJV letter states that permitting Rep. Omar to remain on the Foreign Affairs committee would indicate that Speaker Pelosi is “tolerating this hatred in the Democratic party,” and would “reflect directly upon the credibility of your office, the House Democratic majority, and the Democratic Party itself, when they claim to oppose bigotry and hatred in all their forms.”
“It is unfortunate,” concluded Rabbi Pesach Lerner, President of the CJV, “that she was not removed before she could further damage the reputation of the Democrats on issues of discrimination and hate. But now we have put Speaker Pelosi on notice that Omar’s future statements will have a still greater negative impact.”