The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud Harabbonim, representing nearly one thousand Rabbis serving throughout the United States – applauds New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for condemning anti-Semitic comments made by United States House of Representative Member Ilhan Omar.

“Question: Also, on the national scene, Congresswoman Omar’s comments, did you find them to be anti-Semitic?

Mayor: I did. I did. Let me be really clear, suggesting that support for Israel means that you are beholden to a foreign power is absolutely unacceptable. And it’s illogical too. I believe strongly in the state of Israel. I don’t feel beholden one bit to a foreign power. I am a proud American who believes in the state of Israel and believes it must exist. I happen to be Italian-American. I’ve never heard any one suggest that because of my pride in my ancestral homeland, I am beholden to a foreign government. It is a really inappropriate comment and unfortunately it aligns with a history for centuries of that kind of negative comment being thrown at the Jewish community specifically. There’s a long anti-Semitic tradition associated with that kind of comment.

I will remind you, just a quick history lesson, when John F. Kennedy was candidate for president of the United States, the first Catholic actually on the verge of becoming president, there was a rampant discussion in this country whether he would be beholden to the Pope. It was anti-Catholic; it was inappropriate; it was offensive, and our country learned from that episode. We have to learn from this episode. But what I hope is – because Representative Omar said that she doesn’t mean to offend – well if she doesn’t mean to offend, she should sit down with Jewish communities and hear the pain that they experience, hear what has been done to them over not just decades but centuries, and recognize we need fight anti-Semitism… “

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, stated, “Fighting hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism requires all decent peace-loving people to stand together and declare that there is no room for anti-Semitism and bigotry in society… We as a society will have zero tolerance for those who profess hate and dissension in our great nation.” Mirocznik further applauded Mayor de Blasio for leading by example, “it is only through the leadership that Mayor de Blasio has exhibited that we as a nation can win the war on hate…Thank you, Mayor de Blasio, for taking a strong position on Representative Omar’s tropes.”