More than 200 rabbis have joined the call to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar from her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, telling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that her lack of response demonstrates the Democratic Party’s tolerance of hatred against Jewish people.
The rabbis leveled the charge in a letter this week to Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, after she failed to take action against Ms. Omar for equating the U.S. and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban.
“Without anything resembling a forceful response from the Democratic Party, tolerance of anti-Jewish hatred has proliferated,” wrote the rabbis who are members of the Coalition for Jewish Values.
After nearly two weeks, Ms. Omar’s statements continue to plague the Democratic Caucus despite attempts to move on.
The rabbis said that those who defended Ms. Omar’s remarks are complicit in the perpetuation of antisemitism.
“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,” they said.
Several Jewish Democrats quickly condemned Ms. Omar, Minnesota Democrat, for her statements. It led to intense infighting within the caucus before Ms. Omar issued a statement saying she was “in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”
Her remarks, however, were widely viewed as anti-Israel and anti-U.S. She made them while questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing:
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” she said. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.”
Mrs. Pelosi and her leadership team last week strongly discouraged Ms. Omar’s rhetoric but refused to impose a penalty.
By Sunday, Mrs. Pelosi insisted that the statement wasn’t “a rebuke” of Ms. Omar, the first Somali American and the first naturalized U.S. citizen of African birth elected to Congress.
In response, a group of House Republicans, led by Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida, introduced a resolution to formally censure Ms. Omar and the three other members of “The Squad” for their rhetoric, which they said defended terrorist organizations and contributed to antisemitic attacks.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, later called on Mrs. Pelosi to remove Ms. Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The rabbis are also calling for her removal from the committee to “protect Jewish Americans and, moreover, safeguard the integrity” of the committee, they said.
The letter also addressed recent comments by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican, in which she compared policies compelling masks to Nazi practices of labeling Jewish people.
“Our organization has demonstrated bipartisan concern about anti-Jewish animus, twice condemning insensitive statements made by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene,” they wrote. “Yet we also emphasized that ‘action against Rep. Greene, coupled with the elevation of Rep. Omar, signs that Congress is now willing to tolerate Anti-Semitism when it is politically advantageous to do so.”
Mrs. Greene issued an apology for her statement Monday after visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.