Last week, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) and 11 fellow Democrats sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to condemn former President Donald Trump’s remarks to the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) November 13th and on his social media platform, Truth Social, on October 16th for what they term “antisemitic.”
The letter was signed by Congressman Cohen and Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Darren Soto, Judy Chu, Frederica S. Wilson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, André Carson, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Barbara Lee, Susan Wild, and Dean Phillips.
Separately, on Saturday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) said that when he is Speaker of the House in the next Congress, he plans to remove Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN-5) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee due to her antisemitic comments.
Mort Klein, Zionist Organization of America National President remarked, “ZOA is proud to have honored President Trump with our highest award, the Theodor Herzl Gold Medallion, for his unmatched support of the Jewish State and American Jews. His speech was enthusiastically received by the guests, nearly a thousand of the most committed Jewish activists in the country. We certainly don’t need Congressman Cohen to tell us about antisemitism when he and his cosignatories remained deafeningly silent about the real antisemites in Congress, namely Hate Squad members Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and others. Cohen’s letter shows no real interest or concern about Jew-hatred, but clearly shows an interest in smearing his political opponents.”
“ZOA strongly applauds Leader Kevin McCarthy,” continued Klein, “for sending a clear and powerful message that there will be negative consequences to Jew-hatred and unwarranted Israel-bashing which undermine America’s longstanding position of maintaining strong U.S.-Israel relations as a bulwark of our Mideast policy. We urge Leader McCarthy to remove other bigots Rashida Tlaib, AOC, Jamal Bowman, Cori Bush and Betty McCollum from their committees as well.”
“It is inappropriate for Congressman Cohen to use antisemitism as a political weapon,” added Dan Pollak, ZOA Director of Government Relations. “The fight against antisemitism is too important, with real victims in the United States, to deploy it like a hammer whenever a political rival speaks. The comments of former President Trump are true; there are many American Jews who are not doing the right thing for Israel, and some of them are even serving in Congress. Most of the signers of this letter by Rep. Cohen are reliable opponents of everything Israel does and have also signed letters threatening to reduce our strategic cooperation with Israel unless they adopt the policies advocated by Israel’s enemies.”
Pollak continued, “When legislation was proposed to sanction Rep. Omar for her many antisemitic comments, the signers of this letter insisted on weakening the House resolution, which resulted in no condemnation of Omar by name and adding every other type of discrimination instead of condemning antisemitism per se. In contrast, we welcome Leader McCarthy’s strong stand against actual antisemitism.”
ZOA Chairman of the Board David I. Schoen elaborated, “The premise of Congressman Cohen’s letter is entirely false. President Trump accurately noted that Israel faces existential threats on a daily basis and that American Jews must wake up to that threat and appreciate the miracle of the Jewish homeland and the importance of supporting security measures for it. That is a position that cherishes the Jewish homeland—quite the opposite of antisemitism. Israel is a uniquely Jewish State and many Jews and friends of Israel believe that all Jews and non-Jews should appreciate it and support its continued existence to a greater degree. That does not require dual loyalty, or any other canard contained in the letter.”
Schoen observed, “As Rep. Cohen writes, ‘hate begets hate’ and the blatant, grotesque, classic antisemitism espoused by Rep. Omar and repeated in one form or another before and after that by her fellow travelers in the Hate Squad begets violent attack after violent attack against Jews. His time would be much better spent clearing out the bigotry among his colleagues than playing politics with such an important subject.”