After four House Democrats issued a letter to President Biden decrying anti-Semitism among elected representatives in Congress, a group of more than 1,500 Orthodox Jewish rabbis responded by publicly denouncing the so-called “Squad” of Democratic House representatives who have repeatedly vilified Israel.
The Orthodox Jewish community is the branch of Judaism that closely adheres to the laws and practices outlined in the Torah and Talmud and is preponderantly politically conservative, as it champions traditional social values.
Democratic Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Kathy Manning (NC), Dean Phillips (MN), and Elaine Luria (VA) wrote to Biden that they were “deeply disturbed by the recent surge of antisemitic incidents in the United States,” then referenced Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, writing, “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 authors then condemned rhetoric used by Democrats: “We also reject comments from Members of Congress accusing Israel of being an ‘apartheid state’ and committing ‘act[s] of terrorism.’”
Rabbi Dov Fischer, the Western Regional Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), the group of Orthodox rabbis, pointed out the difference between Democrats and Republicans when it came to condemning anti-Semitism. He snapped, “Hateful rhetoric against Jews has increased since the ‘The Squad’ — Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) — first arrived in Congress in 2019. What we see now is a Republican leadership anxious to condemn statements that lack sensitivity, while their Democratic counterparts are giving blatant hatred a pass.”
“An ‘all-of-government effort’ will require Democrats to expunge the bigotry that has been permitted to fester within their ranks, and these four Representatives should be commended for speaking out,” Rabbi Fischer added.
“CJV expressed understanding of the letter’s attempt at bipartisan criticism, but dismissed insensitive Holocaust analogies, whether regarding mask and vaccination requirements or otherwise, as sharing none of the obvious bigotry of the remarks against Jews and Israel also documented in the letter. It is the hateful bias shared both by The Squad and at ‘pro-Palestinian’ demonstrations, the rabbis observed, which now motivates violent attacks against Jews in American cities and creates the ‘climate… hostile to many Jews’ the letter decries,” CJV noted.
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer, Chairman of CJV’s Rabbinic Circle, stated, “When a person claims that the world’s only country with Jewish and Arab government officials, members of legislature and Supreme Court Justices is an ‘apartheid’ state, the hate and demonization are obvious.”
“We understand that the writers, all Democrats, had to castigate members on both sides for political reasons,” he continued. “Yet despite their doing so, these four Jewish Representatives were unable to get any fellow Democrats, or even one from outside the Jewish community, to join them. That silence carries a frightful message. The Democratic party must do more, and do so immediately, to reverse the tide of antisemitic hatred now sweeping the country.”
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