(March 5, 2019 / JNS) A resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives to condemn anti-Semitism in the aftermath of such remarks made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) does not call out the congresswoman by name.
The resolution states that “anti-Semitism entails prejudicial attitudes or discriminatory acts toward people who are Jewish on the basis of their identity.”
In addition to accepting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, which the U.S. State Department uses, the resolution briefly mentions anti-Semitic incidents throughout history, such as the Alfred Dreyfus affair in France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
It also mentions that “the definition further includes ‘accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations;’ Whereas the myth of dual loyalty, including allegations that Jews should be suspected of being disloyal neighbors or citizens, has been used to marginalize and persecute the Jewish people for centuries for being a stateless minority.”
— Eliza Collins (@elizacollins1) March 4, 2019
Moreover, the resolution states that anti-Semitism includes “accusing Jews of dual loyalty because they support Israel, whether out of a religious connection, a commitment to Jewish self-determination after millennia of persecution, or an appreciation for shared values and interests, suggests that Jews cannot be patriotic Americans and trusted neighbors.”
On Sunday, Omar defended her recent remarks accusing her “Jewish colleagues” for attacking her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for labeling every criticism of theirs as anti-Israel because of the faith of the two congresswomen, in addition to slamming her critics regarding “the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
This evoked condemnation from both parties and from outside groups, including ones in the pro-Israel community.
But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) defended her colleague.
“One of the things that is hurtful about the extent to which reprimand is sought of Ilhan is that no one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx + other communities (during the shutdown, a GOP member yelled “Go back to Puerto Rico!” on the floor),” said the congresswoman in a Twitter thread.
It’s not my position to tell people how to feel, or that their hurt is invalid.
But incidents like these do beg the question: where are the resolutions against homophobic statements? For anti-blackness? For xenophobia? For a member saying he’ll “send Obama home to Kenya?”
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
The Republican member, Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) apologized for making that remark toward Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) .
“In this administration + all others, we should actively check antisemitism, anti-blackness, homophobia, racism, and all other forms of bigotry,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez. “And the most productive end goal when we see it is to educate and heal. It’s the difference btwn ‘calling in’ before ‘calling out.’”
“‘Calling out’ is one of the measures of last resort, not 1st or 2nd resort,” she added. “We do it when repeated attempts to ‘call in’ are disrespected or ignored. And I believe that Ilhan, in her statement a few weeks ago, has demonstrated a willingness to listen+work w/impacted communities.”
“Calling out” is one of the measures of last resort, not 1st or 2nd resort.
We do it when repeated attempts to “call in” are disrespected or ignored. And I believe that Ilhan, in her statement a few weeks ago, has demonstrated a willingness to listen+work w/impacted communities.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
Nonetheless, the Jewish Democratic Council of America applauded the resolution.
“We strongly support the decision of House Democrats to pass a resolution denouncing anti-Semitism, and we urge members of both parties to support this resolution,” said JDCA executive director Halie Soifer in a statement.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in America, let alone in the U.S. Congress. As JDCA has previously asserted, recent statements by Rep. Ilhan Omar perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes are unacceptable and incendiary,” she continued. “Her constituents and the American people deserve better, and we are deeply disappointed such comments have continued despite Rep. Omar’s previous apology.”
U.S. President Donald Trump also condemned Omar’s remarks.
“Representative Ilhan Omar is again under fire for her terrible comments concerning Israel,” he tweeted. “Jewish groups have just sent a petition to Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi asking her to remove Omar from Foreign Relations Committee. A dark day for Israel!”
Representative Ilhan Omar is again under fire for her terrible comments concerning Israel. Jewish groups have just sent a petition to Speaker Pelosi asking her to remove Omar from Foreign Relations Committee. A dark day for Israel!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2019