At a reception in the White House’s East Room celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which concludes Ramadan, on Monday evening, U.S. President Joe Biden complimented two female members of Congress known for antisemitic statements on their looks.
“Congresswoman Omar. Where are you, Congresswoman Omar?” Biden asked, per an official White House transcript, although in video footage, he appeared to say “congressman.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) made her location known.
“There you go. God love you,” Biden said, to laughter. “I’m not supposed to—I’ll get in trouble for saying this, but you look beautiful tonight.” After the applause died down, he kept going. “And Congresswoman Tlaib. Where’s—where’s the congresswoman? There you are. Okay. So do you!” he said, with the official transcript again correcting his apparent references to “congressman.”
Omar’s history of antisemitic remarks includes claiming Israel “hypnotized the world” and Jews buy congressional control (“It’s all about the Benjamins”). She has likened Israel, which she calls an “apartheid state,” to terrorist groups Taliban and Hamas.
Just 25 minutes before Biden began his remarks, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) tweeted that “the apartheid state of Israel was born out of violence and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.” She has referred often to Israel as “apartheid” and has ties to an antisemitic activist who has said “Satanic” Jews, who are not truly Jews, control the media.
Some two-and-a-half hours before Biden complimented the antisemitic House members on their looks, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre fielded a strange question during the White House press briefing about whether a Biden visit to Israel to celebrate the Jewish state’s 75th anniversary would include visiting Palestinian areas
“I—I don’t have a trip to—to—you mean an upcoming trip?” Jean-Pierre responded, per the White House transcript. The reporter said a future trip.
“Oh, I just don’t have—we don’t have anything to share at this time on a trip to Israel.
“As you know, the president went to Jerusalem over the summer, had a very productive—productive trip when we were there, to talk about the Middle East and stabilizing the Middle East and continuing the—the very strong relationship that we have with Israel—as you just mentioned, decades of partnership that we have there,” she said.
“But I just don’t have anything to read out on a—on a trip to celebrate the 75th anniversary.”
Be a part of our community
JNS serves as the central hub for a thriving community of readers who appreciate the invaluable context our coverage offers on Israel and their Jewish world.
Please join our community and help support our unique brand of Jewish journalism that makes sense.