EXCLUSIVE–Rep-Elect Burgess Owens Joins Call to Penalize Tlaib over ‘Antisemitism’

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., listens as U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham test
Getty Images, AP Photo/Alex Brandon

After Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) blasted Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for more anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric and urged colleagues to join him in calling for her immediate removal from all congressional committees, Representative-Elect Burgess Owens put out a statement in support of the move.

In an exclusive statement to Breitbart News on Monday, Owens expressed support for last week’s call to action from Rep. Reschenthaler. 

“I stand by Rep. Reschenthaler’s call to action for Speaker Pelosi to strip Rep. Tlaib of her Committee assignments,” Owens stated. 

Highlighting the need to stand up against antisemitic rhetoric from wherever it emanates, the newly-elected politician said it was time to say “no more.”

“As someone who has seen first-hand the horrors of prejudice and has seen our great country come so far, it is time we stand boldly against anti-Semitic rhetoric,” he continued. “Whether coming from Hollywood or the halls of Congress, we owe it to our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community to say ‘no more.’”

Owens, who spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) in support of President Trump, has in the past touched on his family’s roots in slavery. 

His great-great-grandfather arrived in America shackled in the belly of a slave ship, was sold on an auction block, and later managed to escape slavery through the Underground Rail, eventually becoming a landowner and leader in his West Texas community and founding a black church and elementary school.

Generations later, Owens, named for his first American ancestor, went on to have a 10-year career in the NFL with the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders and, in 2019, debuted in Congress when he testified before a House committee against reparations for descendants of slaves, stating that his ancestors would be ashamed of the prevalence of victimhood today. 

Last month, Owens won his congressional bid in Utah, securing all of Utah’s four congressional seats in Republican hands.

Owens is also one of several newly-elected Republican House members who have banded together to create a group they’ve dubbed the “Freedom Force” intended to counter “The Squad” of radical progressive Democrats that includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib.

“This group will give a contrast to the hard left,” Owens said last month on Fox News’s The Ingraham Angle.

Earlier this month, in response to Tlaib’s recent participation in an anti-Israel conference with purported terrorist ties as well having recently retweeted a slogan calling for the elimination of the Jewish State, Rep. Reschenthaler sought to garner support from fellow congressmen for his proposal.

“It is past time we show the American people that there is no place in Congress, or anywhere, for this shameful intolerance. I call on my colleagues across the aisle to join me in calling for Rep. Tlaib to immediately lose her committee assignments,” he told Breitbart News.

Last month, Tlaib retweeted a post in honor of “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” that read, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” before deleting the text that implied that “Palestine” rests between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, leaving no room for the current State of Israel. 

The deleted phrase was coined by Palestinian nationalists in the 1960s, when the entire Palestinian movement sought Israel’s elimination, and was later adopted by Islamists, including the Hamas terrorist group, which continues to stand behind the phrase, as the terror group reiterated it on Monday while vowing to fight Israel during the 33rd anniversary of its founding.

Other congressmen also responded to Tlaib.

Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) called Tlaib “an embarrassment to the Michigan congressional delegation.”

“Disgraceful,” wrote Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) who is running against the anti-Israel Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock. 

“No wonder [Rev. Warnock] has your full support — and the support of the Squad,” she added. “He’s bashed Israel for years, calling it an ‘apartheid state’ & celebrating anti-Semite Jeremiah Wright. I will ALWAYS stand with Israel.” 

“Where’s Speaker Pelosi?” asked Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney. “Where’s Leader Hoyer? Where’s the media asking Dems if they condemn this?”

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Tlaib, along with Democratic representatives Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Betty McCollum (Minn.), headlined the annual conference of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), one of the most prolific anti-Israel advocacy groups, lending their support to an organization that champions boycotts of Israel and has reportedly partnered with individuals tied to terrorism.

Judicial Watch, a conservative legal advocacy group, said, “Congress should reprimand three of its members for participating with financiers of Islamic terrorism in a conference sponsored by an anti-Semitic group with deep ties to Hamas, the Palestinian extremist group that calls for eradicating the state of Israel.”

Tlaib is scheduled to participate in today’s panel co-sponsored by the radical IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace groups, among others, under the banner “Dismantling Antisemitism, Winning Justice,” though some have expressed their reservations at having Tlaib speak on matters pertaining to what qualifies as antisemitism.

“Criminals don’t decide what a crime is,” says Director of Combat Anti-Semitism Sacha Dratwa. “With the same rationale, anti-Semites can’t determine what Jew-hatred is.” 

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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