Senate Republicans introduced Tuesday a resolution condemning recent violence against Jews and linking it to a surge in “poisonous anti-Israel rhetoric,” putting Senate Democrats on the spot as they wrestle with rising sentiment against Israel on the left.
The resolution, led by Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and co-sponsored by 14 other Senate Republicans, cited several anti-Israel barbs by House Democrats, including Rep. Cori Bush’s May 21 tweet decrying “ethnic cleansing” and “the apartheid status quo.”
“The sickening rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the United States and around the world must end, along with the hateful anti-Israel rhetoric from politicians and the media that inspires the violence,” said Mr. Hawley. “We must ensure that Jewish people receive the full protection of law owed to them as citizens of the United States.”
Pro-Palestinian crowds were shown assaulting Jewish men in clashes last week in Los Angeles and New York City, as shown on video, while a Jewish man in Los Angeles was chased by two cars flying Palestinian flags to shouts of “Allahu akbar.”
Israel and Hamas entered into a cease-fire Friday after 11 days of fighting during which Hamas, listed by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization, launched more than 4,000 rockets toward Israel, which responded with targeted airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
“Some say that being anti-Israel doesn’t mean being anti-Semitic, but the two often go hand-in-hand,” said Sen. John Kennedy, Louisiana Republican. “Since Hamas started lobbing rockets at Israel, we have seen anti-Semites commit numerous acts of violence against Jews in America and abroad. The individuals whose irresponsible words have added to this cloud of hate have no excuse.
Democrats lining up against Israel include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who tweeted May 15 that “Apartheid states aren’t democracies,” and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an “ethno-nationalist leader.”
“Colleagues, Palestinians aren’t going anywhere, no matter how much money you send to Israel’s apartheid government,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, said in a May 13 House floor speech.
In 2019, House Democrats watered down a GOP resolution condemning anti-Semitism by expanding it to include “all hate” in response to tweets by Ms. Omar, such as her comment about Israel’s allies being “all about the Benjamins,” referring to $100 bills. She later apologized.
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, urged the Senate to condemn anti-Semitism “without watering down our condemnation by reference to equally abhorrent but different forms of hatred.”
“The Democrat House seems unable to do so, but I am hopeful that we can do so again, and I’m proud to join Sen. Hawley’s resolution,” Mr. Cruz said.
President Biden issued a statement Thursday condemning attacks on the Jewish community as “despicable,” while Mr. Hawley said “I’m surprised he took this long.”
“Now he needs to call members of his own party and tell them it’s time to stop this rhetoric,” Mr. Hawley said Monday on “Fox & Friends.”
Those backing the resolution include the Republican Jewish Coalition and Family Research Council.
“At a moment when Jews are literally under attack in the streets of our nation, Jewish Americans need to know that Congress is on their side,” said Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “This resolution provides an opportunity for our elected leaders to take a stand against antisemitism and against the demonization of Israel that fuels it.”
The Council for American-Islamic Relations of Los Angeles released a statement last week condemning “violence and intimidation” after the attack on Jewish diners outside the Sushi Fumi restaurant.
A suspect, 30-year-old Xavier Pabon, was arrested Friday and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. He was released after posting a $275,000 bond on Sunday, according to KCAL-TV in Los Angeles.
“As a civil rights and advocacy organization, we support everyone’s right to free speech, the right to assemble and rally in support of their respective political views,” said CAIR-LA executive director Hussam Ayloush. “However, despite heightened tensions in Palestine and Israel, it is never acceptable for that conflict to spill over into our streets and cities.”
In New York, police charged 23-year-old Wasseem Awawdeh with assault as a hate crime, gang assault and weapons violations for using a crutch to attack a Jewish man last week on his way to a pro-Israel rally, according to WLNY-TV.