Squad Members Called Out for Anti-Semitism in Fellow Democrats' Letter to President Biden

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Posted: May 26, 2021 10:45 PM
Squad Members Called Out for Anti-Semitism in Fellow Democrats' Letter to President Biden

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

While violence rages between Israel and Hamas, some of the worst reactions have come from Democrats, namely members of the squad. Their fellow Democrats are finally calling them out, though, in the form of a letter addressed to President Joe Biden from Democratic members of Congress, including Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Elaine Luria (VA), Kathy Manning (NC), and Dean Phillips (MN). 

As a relevant part of the letter read:

We also reject comments from Members of Congress accusing Israel of being an “apartheid state” and committing “act[s] of terrorism.” These statements are antisemitic at their core and contribute to a climate that is hostile to many Jews. We must never forget that less than eighty years ago, within the lifetime of our parents and grandparents, six million people were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust because they were Jews. Israel has long provided the Jewish people with a homeland in which they can be safe after facing centuries of persecution.

The statements and social media platforms of these squad members, especially Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), read like someone associated with Hamas rather than a democratically elected official currently serving in the House of Representatives. Reps. Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Cori Bush (D-MO) tweeted and retweeted each other calling Israel an "apartheid state," as Spencer reported.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) used such language in her own tweets as well.

While these members have claimed to condemn anti-Semitism in tweets, Guy goes deep into explaining the issue of these same members engaging of whataboutism. 

The letter also made reference to remarks from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who has been condemned from all political circles, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), for her comments comparing mask mandates to what Jews endured at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust:

Also from the letter:

At the same time, elected officials have used reckless, irresponsible antisemitic rhetoric. These include repeated, unacceptable, and blatantly antisemitic statements made by a Member of Congress comparing facemasks and other COVID-19 public health measures to “what happened in Nazi Germany” during the Holocaust.  

The letter highlighted a need for how "we need a united, bipartisan, national-level commitment to confront and address the threat of antisemitism head-on. Antisemitism is wrong, and it deserves to be unequivocally condemned by all."

It is not merely Israelis defending themselves--namely their right to exist--from Hamas which has thrust the issue of anti-Semitism into the news cycle. As Katie reported, "Anti-Semitic Palestinian Factions are Openly Attacking Jews in the Streets of America."

And, while Biden has finally condemned this disturbing surge of anti-Semitism, Katie also pointed out to readers that not only did the statement not name the attackers when condemning them, it came in the form of a tweet, rather than officially from the White House.

Here's hoping the letter will provide some motivation for the president. As Alex Gangitano reported for The Hill, "Biden faces growing pressure to take action on antisemitism."

Gangitano reported on the letter, as well as the Jewish groups planning to meet with the White House:

Five prominent Jewish advocacy groups — the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee, the Orthodox Union, the Jewish Federations of North America, and Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. — in a Friday letter to Biden expressed concern about a surge in attacks.

The ADL says antisemitic incidents in the United States have increased 63 percent said since new hostilities broke out 11 days ago between Israel and Hamas. The two sides reached a cease-fire on Friday.

"Jewish organizations plan to keep pushing for more from the president," Gangitano also wrote.

The full text of the letter from Reps. Gottheimer, Luria, Manning, and Phillips reads:

Dear Mr. President:

We are deeply disturbed by the recent surge of antisemitic incidents in the United States. We appreciate your Administration’s commitment to combat antisemitism in all its forms by continuing to work with us to address this scourge. We also know that this issue is deeply important to you and your family. 

We believe we need a united, all-of-government effort to combat rising antisemitism in this country. As you know, over the past few weeks, we have witnessed a surge in antisemitic incidents in the United States, including attacks on Jewish Americans in New York, California, and Florida. In Times Square, a group yelling antisemitic slurs viciously beat, kicked, and pepper-sprayed an unsuspecting Jewish man. In Los Angeles, a caravan of pro-Palestinian protestors descended on a restaurant in West Hollywood, demanding to know “who’s Jewish?” before unleashing a violent attack on diners while yelling antisemitic slurs. In Bal Harbour, a Jewish family visiting from New Jersey, was harassed by four men in an SUV shouting, “Free Palestine, f--- you Jew, die Jew.” In Tucson, Arizona, an individual threw a rock through a glass window, vandalizing Congregation Chaverim. Jews across the United States are facing an extraordinarily tense environment of fear and insecurity.

It is undeniable that this increase in antisemitic incidents has coincided with recent conflict in the Middle East. It must be made clear that there is simply no excuse whatsoever for harassing or targeting people because they are Jewish. Blaming Jews for conflict in the Middle East or seeking to hold them collectively responsible for Israel’s government policies is antisemitic, and it is wrong. Given that Jews in Europe and around the world have faced a similar increase in threats in recent weeks coinciding with the conflict, we also urge you to swiftly nominate an experienced and qualified United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

Growing antisemitic incidents are being fueled from a variety of sources, including a torrent of antisemitic posts online. For instance, the Anti-Defamation League found more than 17,000 tweets in one week with some variation of the phrase, “Hitler was right.” 

At the same time, elected officials have used reckless, irresponsible antisemitic rhetoric. These include repeated, unacceptable, and blatantly antisemitic statements made by a Member of Congress comparing facemasks and other COVID-19 public health measures to “what happened in Nazi Germany” during the Holocaust. 

We also reject comments from Members of Congress accusing Israel of being an “apartheid state” and committing “act[s] of terrorism.” These statements are antisemitic at their core and contribute to a climate that is hostile to many Jews. We must never forget that less than eighty years ago, within the lifetime of our parents and grandparents, six million people were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust because they were Jews. Israel has long provided the Jewish people with a homeland in which they can be safe after facing centuries of persecution.

Sadly, we have learned from our history that when this type of violence and inflammatory rhetoric goes unaddressed, it can fuel increasing hatred and violence, and lead to unspeakable acts against Jews. That is why we need a united, bipartisan, national-level commitment to confront and address the threat of antisemitism head-on. Antisemitism is wrong, and it deserves to be unequivocally condemned by all. 

Thank you for your attention to this serious issue. We look forward to working with you, our colleagues, and the American Jewish community to help protect our communities from the growing threat of antisemitism.

Sincerely, 

Josh Gottheimer                     Elaine G. Luria 

Member of Congress             Member of Congress

Kathy Manning                      Dean Phillips

Member of Congress             Member of Congress

Correction: A previous version referred to Rep. Elaine Luria as representing Michigan. She represents Virginia.