The House speaker had an easy opportunity to take a stand against anti-Semitism by endorsing Antone Melton-Meaux for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, but she failed to do so.
By Farley Weiss, JNS
On March 7, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Resolution 183 condemning anti-Semitism. The resolution, which passed 407-23, was initiated in response to anti-Semitic comments made by Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
The text of the resolution, whose purpose was to “ensure safety” for the Jewish people, states that “accusing Jews of being more loyal to Israel or to the Jewish community than to the U.S. constitutes anti-Semitism.”
Clause 1 rejects the perpetuation of anti-Semitic stereotypes, including the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance, especially in the context of support for the U.S.-Israel alliance.
This is relevant to Omar’s Feb. 27, 2019 categorization of supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship as people who “push allegiance to a foreign country.”
This followed Tlaib’s tweet the previous month, in which she criticized Sen. Marco Rubio’s anti-BDS efforts with the accusation: “They forgot what country they represent.”
Rubio responded, “The ‘dual loyalty’ canard is a typical anti-Semitic line.”
Neither Omar nor Tlaib has apologized for their textbook anti-Semitic statements.
In 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance adopted a working definition of anti-Semitism, which since has been widely adopted around the world, including by the U.S. State Department. The definition includes various anti-Israel activities, such as opposition to the existence of a Jewish state.
This does not mean that Israel is above criticism; it means that opposing the existence of the Jewish state and the right to Jewish self-determination is anti-Semitic. Hence, by definition, Tlaib’s opposition to the existence of the Jewish state of Israel clearly constitutes an anti-Semitic view.
The BDS movement, supported by Reps. Omar and Tlaib, aims to weaken and ultimately destroy the sovereign state of Israel by economic, social and political means. Cofounded by Omar Barghouti, who opposes the establishment of Israel in 1948, the BDS movement aims to undermine the only democracy in the Middle East and a loyal ally of the United States.
It is most telling that Omar misled the public during her election campaign by saying that she opposed the BDS movement, and only came clean with her true views after she was elected.
Omar is up for reelection. She has a strong Democratic challenger in the primary in her heavily Democratic district. Her challenger is African American Antone Melton-Meaux, whose father is a decorated Vietnam veteran, whose mother grew up picking cotton and whose wife is a surgeon.
Melton-Meaux, a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, founded a law firm in Minnesota. A recipient of the prestigious Congressional Black Caucus Fellowship, he worked with former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile.
He raised $3,200,000 in the last quarter, compared to $471,000 raised by Omar, and had twice as much money in the bank for the last month of their primary campaign.
It should have been easy, then, for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to endorse him for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District over Omar, whose outrageous anti-Semitic statements and anti-Israel agenda have been greatly problematic for the Democratic Party. Sadly, however, she endorsed Omar.
The Republicans had a similar decision regarding Congressman Steve King. Its leadership under Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy rightly endorsed his primary challenger, Randy Feenstra. That endorsement, and his dropping of King from all committees, helped lead to King’s loss. Pelosi should have behaved similarly. She should have dropped Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee and endorsed Melton-Meaux.
Former basketball champion Kareem Abdul Jabbar recently and bravely wrote about the “shocking lack of massive indignation” concerning recent anti-Semitic statements made by black athletes and celebrities. Several of them since have apologized for their remarks.
In contrast, the anti-Semitism of Omar and Tlaib has become acceptable within the halls of Congress. Pelosi had an easy opportunity to stand up against this anti-Semitism by endorsing Melton-Meaux, but she failed to do so.
Jabbar quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous comment that “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Jabbar also said that “it is not enough to have good intentions, because it’s the actual deeds—and words—which have the real impact.”
Pelosi is not anti-Semitic. However, her decision to endorse Omar was not the act of someone standing against anti-Semitism.
Farley Weiss is president of the National Council of Young Israel. He is an intellectual property attorney for the law firm of Weiss & Moy.