World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder criticized the U.S. House of Representatives for “watering down” a resolution on antisemitism Thursday that House Democrats broadened to include a variety of other groups.
The resolution, which passed 407-23, was prompted by the recent antisemitic remarks of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). However, Democratic Party leaders ensured that the resolution did not actually mention Omar, and did not focus on antisemitism, but also included a variety of other groups that have been targets of discrimination in other contexts.
In a statement released Thursday, Lauder said: “The unfortunate decision by the US House leadership to dilute a forthright condemnation of antisemitism is both irresponsible and dangerous.”
Lauder’s statement continued:
“The House of Representatives failed to explicitly condemn antisemitism as a unique and targeted form of hatred, and to recognize that any inflammatory rhetoric that utilizes antisemitic tropes to criticize the State of Israel and fan the flames of hatred against Jews is unacceptable across the board and must be met with zero tolerance and immediate condemnation.”
“Instead, the House has regrettably chosen to water down the resolution, thus sanctioning Representative Ilhan Omar’s remarks, which put the loyalty of American Jewry into question. All forms of bigotry and xenophobia, including Islamophobia, should be condemned, but we must not forget the specific nature of antisemitism within the current climate of anti-Zionism and rising attacks against Jews,” Lauder said.
“The fabric of American society lies in its democracy, and we should be celebrating, not condemning, the support that the United States has for its great ally, the State of Israel, its sister democracy in the Middle East,” Lauder said.
“Congress plays a crucial role in combating antisemitism. Congress should not be a place that gives antisemitism a voice in this country and it must voice its clear opposition to this age-old hatred strongly and unequivocally. The world looks to the United States for leadership in this fight and the United States must not fail to live up to its leadership role,” Mr. Lauder said. “Unequivocally rejecting antisemitism is part of the values that America has always stood and of which we are exceedingly proud.”
Even some Democrats agreed:
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) from House floor: “It feels like we’re only able to call the use of anti-semitic language by any colleague of ours if we’re addressing all forms of hatred and it feels like we can’t say it’s anti-semitism unless everyone agrees that it’s anti-semitism.”
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) March 7, 2019
Omar’s defenders within the party had claimed criticism of Israel was being silenced. However, she had specifically, and repeatedly, attacked American support for Israel, not Israel itself.
The World Jewish Congress described itself as “the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.”
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.