Dem lawmaker: Why can't resolution 'singularly condemn' anti-Semitism?

Dem lawmaker: Why can't resolution 'singularly condemn' anti-Semitism?
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchGun epidemic is personal for lawmakers touched by violence House panel advances anti-gun violence legislation Gun debate to shape 2020 races MORE (D-Fla.) called on the House on Thursday to pass a resolution that would "singularly condemn" anti-Semitism in the wake of Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarGOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Omar asks Twitter what it's doing in response to Trump spreading 'lies that put my life at risk' MORE’s (D-Minn.) recent controversial comments on U.S.-Israel relations.

Deutch pointed to numerous examples of remarks made by both Republicans and Democrats that have been perceived as anti-Semitic, arguing Congress needs to take a stand to prevent hate and acts of violence against the Jewish community.

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His remarks come as the House gears up to vote on a resolution that was broadened to condemn other forms of hate including Islamophobia and white supremacy.

The initial resolution sought to condemn anti-Semitism following Omar's controversial comments that pro-Israel groups are pushing for “allegiance to a foreign country," which brought to mind historical charges of dual loyalty that have sometimes been leveled against Jews.

But a number of liberals and members of key minority caucuses balked at singling out the freshman congresswoman and called for broadening the resolution to include different kinds of hate.

“We are having this debate because of the language one of our colleagues, language that suggests Jews like me who serve in the United States in Congress and whose father earned a purple heart fighting the Nazis in the Battle of the Bulge, that we are not loyal Americans?" said Deutch.

"Why are we unable to singularly condemn anti-Semitism? Why can't we call it anti-Semitism and show we've learned the lessons of history?” he asked.

Deutch argued that while all forms of hatred should be condemned, he felt that Omar invoking “anti-Semitic lies three times” should be “taken seriously on its own.”

“It feels like we're only able to call out the use of anti-Semitic language by a colleague of ours, any colleague of ours, if we're addressing all forms of hatred,” he continued. “And it feels like we can't say it's anti-Semitism unless everyone agrees that it's anti-Semitism. Who gets to define what counts as stereotypes and discrimination?

The Florida Democrat said public officials alleging those who support Israel have "dual loyalty" can lead to violent consequences.

“Jews control the world? Jews care only about money? Jews have dual loyalty and can't be patriotic members of the country which they live?” he concluded. “Words matter. For generations, they have had dangerous consequences for me, for my family and for my people. This shouldn't be so hard.”