Rabbis urge Pelosi to remove Omar from House Foreign Affairs committee

More than 200 rabbis call on House Speaker to remove Minnesota Rep from House Foreign Affairs Committee following anti-Israel remarks.

Tags:Nancy PelosiRabbisIlhan Omar Elad Benari , Jun 17 , 2021 1:06 AM Share
Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarReuters

More than 200 rabbis are calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and are accusing Omar of inciting attacks on American Jews, Fox News reported on Wednesday.

“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 wrote in a letter sent to Pelosi and quoted by Fox News. “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.”

“Rep. Omar’s unfounded assertion that Israel committed ‘unthinkable atrocities’ by defending lives against an openly genocidal terror organization is not merely offensive, it is pernicious – for it is grounded in the blood libel and the calumny that Jews poisoned wells during the Black Death,” the rabbis wrote. “Without anything resembling a forceful response from the Democratic Party, tolerance of anti-Jewish hatred has proliferated.”

The rabbis said they had warned against putting Omar on the Foreign Affairs Committee in 2019 and accused her and her allies of “playing identity politics.”

“When 12 Jewish Democrats in the House rightfully denounced Rep. Omar’s abhorrent bigotry, the Congressional Progressive Caucus stooped to playing identity politics, cravenly claiming that the motivation for the condemnation was opposition to Rep. Omar as a ‘Black, Muslim woman’ rather than her anti-Semitic animus,” they wrote.

A total of 212 American rabbis and 12 rabbis from overseas, including Canada and Israel, signed the letter sent by the Coalition of Jewish Values and its president, Rabbi Pesach Lerner. The letter pointed out that the group has also condemned a Republican, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, for what they called “insensitive statements.”

Omar, who is notorious for past anti-Israel statements, caused an uproar last week when she equated Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.

In response, 12 of the 25 Jewish Democrats in the US House of Representatives published a statement said the grouping of the United States and Israel with the Taliban and Hamas in remarks about pursuing war crimes prosecutions gives “cover to terrorist groups” and called on Omar to clarify her earlier statements.

Omar then fired back at her Jewish colleagues and said, “It’s shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now put out a statement asking for ‘clarification’ and not just call.”

“The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable,” added Omar.

She later issued another clarification and claimed she had been misunderstood.

“On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about ongoing International Criminal Court investigations,” Omar said. “To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the US and Israel. I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

Pelosi said Friday that Democratic leadership won’t take further action against Omar over the claims.

Pelosi was asked at a press conference on Friday if House leaders should take further action against Omar, who has a history of inflammatory remarks.

The speaker did not even let the reporter finish asking the question before answering in the negative.

“I think that she clarified her remarks and we accept that, and she has a point that she wanted to make and she has a right to make that point,” Pelosi said. “There’s some unease about how it was interpreted.”

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