BY REPS. LEE ZELDIN (R-N.Y.), TED BUDD (R-N.C.) AND ELISE STEFANIK (R-N.Y.), OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 03/04/19 04:30 PM THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL
For too long, we have witnessed the rise of blatant anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate in the United States and around the world.From our nation’s college campusesto our country’s politics, this hatred has seeped into Americans’ everyday lives and attempted to normalize itself in our society. We, as a nation, in condemning hatred in any form, must root out anti-Semitism wherever it may rear its ugly head. We must not embolden it or elevate it, we must crush it.
We, as leaders in government and members of Congress, have the highest responsibility to set an example and send a message that anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate is not welcome in our nation. We have learned the lessons of the past and fully understand the serious negative consequences of having patience and tolerance for this evil. It is OK to have reasonable, legitimate criticism of any government in the world, including the U.S. government and those of our allies, but when it is in the name of that criticism that deep and dark hate towards other people costs innocent people their lives and freedom from discrimination, than silence is especially never an option.
We have colleagues in the 116th Congress who have either associated themselves with blatant anti-Semites, like Louis Farrakhan and others, or have pushed out their own anti-Semitic trope themselves. Rep.Ilhan Omar(D-Minn.) previously sent a tweet stating: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” She also states that the only reason why members of Congress support Israel is because they were bought off by supporters of Israel. Rep.Rashida Tlaib(D-Mich.)has associated herself with individuals who say, “Israel does not have a right to exist. The terrorist entity is illegal and has no basis to exist other than a delusional ISIS-like ideology.” These members support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has a blatantly anti-Semitic founder and is an effort that in the name of BDS has resulted in Jewish students on college campuses throughout America being targeted with blatant anti-Semitism. Meanwhile, these members and the anti-Semites associated with members of Congress never express any issue whatsoever withPalestinian terrorists being financially rewarded to murder innocent Americans and Israelisin a formal pay to slay policy of the Palestinian leadership, which also treats these terrorists as martyrs and gives them state funerals.
In January, a resolution was passed in the House or Representatives rejecting white supremacy, naming a GOP colleague. The very next day, House SpeakerNancy Pelosi(D-N.Y.) placed the resolution on the docket and, on Jan. 15, the entire House of Representatives rushed to the House floor toalmost unanimously (424-1) vote in favor of this resolution, including us.
While it was determined that this GOP member was no longer fit to serve on his House committees such as the Small Business Committee, Omar was appointed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and has not been disciplined or removed. In addition to what was already referenced above, which is grounds alone, she once requested leniency for ISIS fighters, has blamed U.S. foreign policy for the al-Shabaab attack in Kenya, and props up Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. Omar should be immediately removed from this important committee assignment overseeing U.S. foreign policy.
If we as the leaders of the free world cannot come together to condemn hatred in all forms, it is no wonder anti-Semitism is running rampant throughout our nation.Omar issued what she labeled an unequivocal apology, but filled it with equivocation. When asked by CNN’s Manu Raju about her apology just after she tweeted it, it was painfully obvious that she had zero empathy for any words of her forced apology. It must be resoundingly clear to all Americans that this type of hate will not be tolerated even in light of a half-hearted apology, just as it was in rejecting white supremacy.
On Jan. 23,we introduced House Resolution 72, rejecting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate in the United States and around the world. It’s been weeks since its introduction and now, despite having nearly 100 co-sponsors, House Democratic leadership continues to block a vote on our resolution. This lack of leadership on their part emboldens others to attack us for standing with Israel and against anti-Semitism with calls and messages that include one from a man referring to all Jewish people and all people who support Israel as “maggots” and “bloodsuckers.” Additionally, he stated that he “wished Hitler would have done his job.” Unfortunately, there are way too many other examples like this.
It is time to speak up. It is time to renounce blatant hatred and bigotry in all forms from white supremacy to anti-Semitism. It is time to send a clear, resounding message to the entire world that anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate will not be tolerated, and it starts with us, here in the chamber of the House of Representatives. We urge all of our colleagues to support H.Res. 72, remove Rep. Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and reject anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate once and for all.
Zeldin represents New York’s 1st District and is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Budd represents North Carolina’s 13th District and Stefanik represents New York’s 21th District.
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