Jewish Democrats call for ambassador to combat antisemitism, condemn colleagues’ comments

Three Jewish House Democrats are urging President Biden to appoint an ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat antisemitism in the United States. 

In a letter obtained by Punchbowl News, Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.Y.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) also criticized recent comments about Jewish people and Israel by lawmakers in both parties. 

“It is undeniable that this increase in antisemitic incidents has coincided with recent conflict in the Middle East. It must be made clear that there is simply no excuse whatsoever for harassing or targeting people because they are Jewish. Blaming Jews for conflict in the Middle East or seeking to hold them collectively responsible for Israel’s government policies is antisemitic, and it is wrong,” the lawmakers wrote. 

They added that elected officials at the same time have used “reckless, irresponsible antisemitic rhetoric,” mentioning comments by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who over the weekend compared mask mandates and other COVID-19 public health measures to “what happened in Nazi Germany” during the Holocaust.

The lawmakers called the comments “blatantly antisemitic” but did not identify Greene by name. 

The trio also targeted statement by pro-Palestine Democrats in the party’s caucus, who have blamed Israel for the ongoing conflict in Gaza. 

“We also reject comments from Members of Congress accusing Israel of being an ‘apartheid state’ and committing ‘act[s] of terrorism.’ These statements are antisemitic at their core and contribute to a climate that is hostile to many Jews,” the three lawmakers said. “We must never forget that less than eighty years ago, within the lifetime of our parents and grandparents, six million people were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust because they were Jews. Israel has long provided the Jewish people with a homeland in which they can be safe after facing centuries of persecution.”

The three Democrats also decried a growing number of hate-inspired incidents at synagogues, attacks on Jewish people in public and a rise in hateful language online toward Jewish people in recent weeks. 

The Anti-Defamation League found more than 17,000 tweets in one week with some variation of the phrase “Hitler was right,” they told Biden before urging him to place a greater focus on the issue. 

“Sadly, we have learned from our history that when this type of violence and inflammatory rhetoric goes unaddressed, it can fuel increasing hatred and violence, and lead to unspeakable acts against Jews,” they wrote. “That is why we need a united, bipartisan, national-level commitment to confront and address the threat of antisemitism head-on. Antisemitism is wrong, and it deserves to be unequivocally condemned by all.”

Tags Anti-Defamation League Antisemitic incidents during the Gaza War Antisemitism Elaine Luria Joe Biden Josh Gottheimer Judaism Marjorie Taylor Greene
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