Rabbis to House Leaders: “Virtue Signaling” on Hate endangers Jews
February 4, 2021

Baltimore, MD, Feb. 4, 2021 — The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1500 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in matters of public policy, thanked House leaders for addressing Antisemitism, but questioned the lack of a “neutral and bipartisan approach” in tackling the problem. The House voted today to strip new Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) of her committee assignments, but the rabbis observed that recent hateful, Antisemitic statements from the other side of the aisle have gone without comment.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday, the CJV urged members of Congress to utilize the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of Antisemitism, a neutral standard adopted by dozens of countries including the United States. “The House of Representatives must ensure that Antisemitism is not allowed to flourish on one side by condemning it only on the other,” they wrote.

In particular, the CJV targeted Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s false and bigoted claim that Israel was denying access to COVID vaccines to citizens of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA has sole authority over healthcare for its citizens, and chose to obtain the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia rather than collaborate with Israel. The PA even refused aid from the United Arab Emirates, because the planes carrying medical equipment landed at Ben-Gurion Airport.

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Yet Rep. Tlaib not only ignored Israel’s global leadership in vaccine administration, including special outreach to its Arab residents; she called Israel “racist” for not vaccinating PA citizens before its own. Representatives Joaquim Castro, Marie Newman and Jamaal Bowman all echoed her slanderous allegation that Israel was responsible for failing to vaccinate PA residents, which Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan called a “blood libel.”

“To strip Representative Greene of her committee assignments, while ignoring the bigotry expressed by Representatives Tlaib, Castro, Bowman and Newman in just the past few weeks, is not to fight Antisemitism but to employ it as a partisan weapon,” said Rabbi Dov Fischer, Western Regional Vice President of the CJV. “That is very dangerous. It purports to fight hate while encouraging it to fester.”

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of Antisemitism includes “applying double standards [against Israel] by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” The CJV letter emphasized that “Representative Greene promoted a video referring to ‘Zionist supremacists,’ and Representative Tlaib referred to Israel as racist. The sentiment is precisely the same. No one can deny that this is a bipartisan problem.”

“Had the House operated by a fair and neutral standard,” concluded Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Managing Director of the CJV, “Rep. Greene would not be the only Member of Congress losing her committee assignments. Let there be no mistake: the American Jewish community is at greater risk today, because partisans chose to ‘virtue signal’ instead of taking real action to fight Antisemitism and hatred.”

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