On Wednesday, a coalition of more than 200 Orthodox Jewish rabbis condemned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for backing down after Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) “clarified” her remarks comparing America and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban. While Pelosi did briefly condemn Omar’s remarks, she later thanked the congresswoman for “clarifying” that she did not intend to equate Israel with Hamas. The rabbis condemned Pelosi’s “abdication of leadership” on Omar, linking Omar’s rhetoric with the spate of anti-Semitic violence across America.
“Jews are being attacked day and night on American streets by mobs incited by Rep. Omar’s rhetoric,” the rabbis wrote. “[Y]our reply that Rep. Omar ‘has a point that she wanted to make, and she has a right to make that point’ is both acceptance of bigotry and an abdication of leadership.”
“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,” the rabbis added. “To protect Jewish Americans and, moreover, safeguard the integrity of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we thus insist upon the removal of Rep. Omar from her appointment.”
The most recent Omar controversy dates back to June 7, when the congresswoman tweeted, “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
After Pelosi and other Democrats condemned Omar for “drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban,” the congresswoman walked back her remarks.
“To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC [International Criminal Court] cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel,” Omar insisted. “I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”
After this less-than-convincing “clarification,” Pelosi praised Omar as “a valued member of our caucus.” She told CNN’s Dana Bash that the Democrats “did not rebuke her. We thanked her — acknowledged that she made a clarification.”
The rabbis loudly condemned this about-face. They also noted Pelosi’s other failures to hold Omar accountable.
“In early 2019, when you placed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we wrote that this appointment was ‘tantamount to saying that antisemitism is acceptable to the United States House of Representatives.’ When you condemned her antisemitic rhetoric a month later, we welcomed your words, but further said that they were ‘far too mild a response.’ We warned that failure to both declare Rep. Omar’s statements ‘beyond the realm of civil discourse’ and reverse her committee appointment would send the message to the world that you were ‘tolerating this hatred in the Democratic party,'” the rabbis wrote.
“We commend you for your condemnation of Hamas’s rocket attacks, as well as your affirmation of Israel’s right to defend itself. In this, you stand in the tradition of your father, a staunch advocate for the safety of Jews in Europe and the Holy Land. But recent events involving Rep. Omar have demonstrated that our apprehension was in no way exaggerated,” the rabbis added. “Failure to act at this juncture would allow antisemitism to not only fester in Congress, but also inflame it in cities across America.”
The rabbis argued that Omar’s “clarification” amounted to an admission that her “statements were baseless.”
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) has loudly condemned anti-Semitism in both parties, but the rabbis warned that Omar’s statements are far more dangerous than those of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), whose statements CJV twice condemned. “Yet we also emphasized that ‘action against Rep. Greene, coupled with the elevation of Rep. Omar, signals that Congress is now willing to tolerate Anti-Semitism when it is politically advantageous to do so.'”
Earlier this year, CJV warned that if anti-Semitism becomes a “political weapon,” “that would place American and global Jewry at greater risk, by claiming to fight hate while permitting it to fester.”
Tragically, Pelosi and her caucus are happy to befriend and ally with a horrific anti-Semite.
As PJ Media’s Matt Margolis pointed out, Omar is rather unpopular across the U.S. “According to a new Rasmussen poll, 61 percent of likely U.S. voters disagree with Omar’s remarks. Only 24 percent agree, and 15 percent are not sure. A mere 34 percent of voters have a favorable view of Omar, and a half of all voters have an unfavorable view. That’s bad news for the Democratic Party,” Margolis wrote.
Democrats don’t just have a moral responsibility to denounce Omar — it’s also in their political interest as the 2022 midterms approach. Otherwise, Republicans would be right to condemn them for it.