Daily Mail: More than 2,000 rabbis write to Speaker McCarthy urging him to kick Ilhan Omar off Foreign Affairs Committee because it is a ‘step to quell the rising antisemitic speech’ across the United States
January 31, 2023

by Katelyn Caralle in the Daily Mail

A group representing more than 2,000 rabbis are affirming their support for keeping Representative Ilhan Omar off the Foreign Affairs Committee as a ‘step’ toward snuffing out antisemitic speech in the US.

In a letter to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the rabbis wrote requesting the House ‘follow through’ on Republicans’ pledge to remove the Minnesota Democrat from the committee on which she currently serves.

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The communication from the Coalition for Jewish Values comes as some GOP members of the House have expressed they would not back McCarthy’s plans to strip Omar of her panel assignment.

‘This is not a political matter, but one of moral conscience, and a necessary step to quell the rising tide of antisemitic speech and violence now impacting Jewish communities across America,’ the group wrote in Monday’s letter.

The letter, signed by the group’s President Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, and Managing Director Rabbi Yaakov Menken, noted that they have sent three other letters to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the 117th Congress, which went ignored.

House Republicans are scrambling to figure out a way to kick the progressive representative off of the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee, considering several GOP members said they’d vote against the move if it comes to the floor for a vote.

The Washington Times reported Monday that a ‘backdoor’ strategy is being explored – such as having only House Foreign Affairs Committee members take a vote if the House Rules Committee determines such a move is suitable.

Democrats could push to reverse the committee’s action with their own floor vote, however, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could block such a motion.

Over the weekend, Omar continued to defend herself for past comments she made about Israel, which were branded as anti-Semitic – the justification Republicans are using to potentially give her the boot from the prominent committee assignment.

‘I certainly did not or was not aware that the word “hypnotized” was a trope,’ the Minnesota progressive said on CNN. ‘I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money. That has been a very enlightening part of this journey.’

During a press conference last week, Omar also pointed out that the comments were made in the early weeks of her Congressional tenure – in 2019 – and she’s since apologized.

‘I have addressed it, I’ve apologized. It’s been two and a half terms ago,’ Omar said.

McCarthy remained determined, however, to boot her from the committee.

‘Now Congresswoman Omar, the thing she has said, as a member of Congress, she said, people only love Israel for the Benjamins. She said on 9/11, “Something happened here.” She equated the U.S. military and the Israeli security forces equal to Hamas are even going further, and claiming it to others inside the Middle East,’ McCarthy told The Washington Times.

But it looks more and more likely he doesn’t have the votes.

Republican Reps. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Victoria Spartz of Indiana, and Ken Buck of Colorado have all indicated they’ll vote against removing Omar.

‘I think that we should not engage in this tit-for-tat,’ Buck said on Meet the Press NOW Friday. ‘I am opposed to the selection or the removal of Congresswoman Omar from [the] committee.’

Additionally, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, who practically derailed McCarthy’s speakership bid, said he was ‘undecided’ in a TV interview Monday night.

‘The reason I think a lot of Republicans want to kick Ilhan Omar off of the Foreign Affairs Committee is that they don’t like what she has to say,’ Gaetz said, adding that this was not a good enough reason.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, kicked off committees herself last Congress for comments she made, said that some of her colleagues shared ‘First Amendment concerns.’

‘This is actually a national security issue,’ Greene said.

When pressed by DailyMail.com to define her national security concerns, Greene explained: ‘If she has those types of views towards our ally Israel that’s a big, big problem.’

Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana noted to reporters that Omar was being removed for comments she made in Congress, while Democrats last Congress removed stripped Greene of her committees for comments made before she took office.

‘Even if Omar were to be removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee, she’d still be allowed to serve on other committees. So, a lot of these big differences,’ Scalise, R-La., explained, adding that Omar herself voted to remove Greene from committees.

McCarthy also won’t have the vote of Rep. Greg Steube, a Florida Republican who recently fell off a ladder cutting trees at his home and is recovering from multiple injuries.

As part of Republicans’ anti-COVID protocols sentiment, the new House GOP majority voted to end proxy voting and allow members to participate in committee meetings via Zoom.

Last week, McCarthy unilaterally removed California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee, a move that didn’t need a full House vote.

Originally published in the Daily Mail

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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