The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud Harabbonim, representing nearly one thousand Rabbis serving throughout the United States – concurs with United States Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi that “Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters are deeply offensive.” RAA/Igud commends Speaker Pelosi and other members of the House of Representatives for condemning these prejudiced remarks and for calling upon Representative Omar to apologize for her hurtful comments.
However, RAA/Igud finds Representative Omar’s apology deficient and disingenuous. Representative Omar stated in her attempted apology that, “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry.” This line in Omar’s apology is in harmony with her previous statement that support for Israel among her colleagues is, “all about the Benjamins, baby,” charging that Jewish money controls Congress. When asked to clarify she responded that the problem is AIPAC. This hurtful statement repeats the odious charge of anti-Semites around the world that Jews control the seats of political power through use of money. Additionally, the identification of pro-Israel lobbyists as a moral and political enemy – not pro-Russia, pro-China or pro-Iran lobbyists but supporters of an American ally – gives all Americans reason for great concern.
In fact, AIPAC does not make campaign contributions to candidates nor does it pay elected officials to adopt pro-Israel policies. AIPAC is not a political action committee that makes political contributions – AIPAC stands for American Israel Public Affairs Committee. By law, AIPAC is not allowed to make campaign contributions.
RAA/Igud further notes that Representative Omar is among a small number of young progressives who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to single out and delegitimize Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East. This singling out of a free and democratic ally for boycott, rather than the many autocratic regimes that continually violate the human rights of its citizens, serves as a red flag of anti-Semitism. Based on Representative Omar’s antagonism to an American ally, her adoption of anti-Semitic tropes in contradiction to the facts, and her participation in the BDS movement which inherently is anti-Semitic, RAA/Igud calls on Speaker Pelosi to perform her patriotic duty in expelling Representative Omar from her powerful committee assignment on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. A detractor and enemy of an American ally should not wield that level of foreign policy influence.
As Americans, how can we have faith in our government when we allow such anti-Semitic statements to go without censure and appropriate consequences? Hate, bigotry and anti-Semitism are not political issues. They are human issues that must be condemned by all decent, peaceful and freedom-loving people.