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With Procedural Maneuver, House G.O.P. Elevates Anti-Semitism as Political Issue

Category: Political News,Politics

The National Republican Congressional Committee blasted out emails on Wednesday insinuating that two freshman House Democrats, Elaine Luria of Virginia and Mike Levin of California, were covering for Ms. Omar’s anti-Semitism. Ms. Luria is Jewish, and Mr. Levin has spoken openly about the anti-Semitism faced by his paternal grandparents.

Democrats say Republicans are being hypocritical. They note that the Republican leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, was himself accused of anti-Semitism in the fall when he said the Jewish billionaires George Soros, Michael R. Bloomberg and Tom Steyer were trying to buy the election.

“We are still waiting for an apology” from Mr. McCarthy, Representative Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts, a member of the House Democratic leadership, told reporters on Wednesday.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer, the Democratic leader, echoed her point, adding that Mr. Trump routinely makes offensive comments — such as his recent tweet making light of the Trail of Tears, the genocidal removal of Indians from their homelands — while Republicans remain silent.

Mr. Trump, too, has been accused of anti-Semitism. When he was running for office, he posted a tweet showing Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, on a pile of money and a Star of David, calling her the “most corrupt candidate ever!” He later deleted the tweet amid an outcry from those who said he was playing into the anti-Semitic trope about Jews using their money to wield influence.

The latest war of words over anti-Semitism on Capitol Hill is making some Jewish leaders increasingly uneasy. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, the liberal Jewish lobbying group, said in a recent interview that he worries that charges of anti-Semitism are being thrown around lightly.

“This pattern of overheated, ill-considered and reductive attacks, playing out on social media and in the press, has failed to address these issues with the nuance, sensitivity and seriousness that they deserve,” Mr. Ben-Ami said Monday in a statement, after Ms. Omar apologized. “It does nothing to advance the true interests and needs of Israelis or Palestinians, nor those of the American Jewish community.”

But Aipac praised the vote: “We applaud the overwhelming, bipartisan rejection of anti-Semitism and B.D.S. by the House of Representatives today.”


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