Republicans Move Amendment Against Antisemitism Thru House — Unanimously

Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise standing O (Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty)
Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty

The House Republicans moved an amendment opposing antisemitism through the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, using an unusual parliamentary maneuver from the minority that rarely succeeds. It passed 424-0.

The “motion to recommit” is rarely successful. Typically, it is a last-ditch effort by the minority party to make an amendment to another bill. In this case, Republicans offered an amendment to a House resolution against the U.S. supporting Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

The amendment declares that “[I]t is in the national security interest of the United States to combat anti-Semitism around the world.” Democrats, embarrassed by ongoing criticism of the antisemitic rhetoric of several members, including first-term Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), felt no choice but to agree.

The full text of the amendment adds that “all attempts to delegitimize and deny Israel’s right to exist must be denounced and rejected,” which contrasts directly with the views of first-term Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

Moreover, the amendment opposes boycotts of Israel: “It is in the national security interest of the United States to oppose restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by any foreign country against other countries friendly to the United States or against any United States person.” That is an indirect rebuke of Omar’s policies: she supports the anti-Israel “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement, despite opposing it in the election.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had promised action against antisemitism in the House this week. In a statement after the vote, he said:

In a defining moment for the U.S. House of Representatives and the country as a whole, Republicans and Democrats voted as one today to condemn anti-Semitism around the world, to denounce all attempts to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist, and to oppose efforts to impose boycotts on Israel. Amid the troubling rise of anti-Semitism, including attacks on synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, it is our duty as a nation to stand firmly against intolerance and division. This overwhelmingly positive and cohesive vote shows there is no place for anti-Semitism in any form, anytime, anywhere.

Neither Tlaib nor Omar opposed the amendment explicitly; Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) were the only two members to vote “present.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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