Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Calls upon Congressional Leaders to Repudiate Rep. Omar for Latest Anti-Semitic Statements

Posted on February 11, 2019 In Press Releases

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, called upon leaders of the U.S. Congress to repudiate new anti-Semitic statements made by Rep. Ilhan Omar and to appropriately censure her.

In a series of tweets, Rep. Omar asserted that Members of Congress who support pro-Israel policies do so because “it’s all about the Benjamins” and that it is “AIPAC” that pays the Members to do so.

The leadership of the Orthodox Union had previously stated that we were deeply offended by past statements made by Rep. Ilhan Omar – particularly her 2012 assertion that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

Two weeks ago, Rep. Omar said about that prior statement: “It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy in disavowing the anti-Semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive.”

In response, we said: “We remain concerned that Rep. Omar has publicly stated support for the anti-Israel “BDS” movement which seeks to delegitimize Israel and we reject Rep. Omar’s view that Israel’s actions against the Hamas terror group in Gaza in 2012 were “evil.” Given the threats Israel faces, the Jewish State and her leaders have the right and duty to act against Israel’s enemies.” We further stated: “We hope that Rep. Omar’s acknowledgement is the beginning of a process of engagement and dialogue that will lead to greater understanding.”

Today, in light of her most recent tweets and other public statements she has made over the past few weeks, we see that Rep. Omar is clearly not interested in such a process. She is more interested in continuing to maliciously traffic in anti-Semitic tropes and can no longer feign ignorance or be given the benefit of the doubt. We appreciate the statements made so far by several Democratic Members of Congress repudiating Rep. Omar on this front. But in the face of an unprecedented rise in anti-Semitism in this country and around the world, we call upon all Members to speak up and be counted among those who explicitly reject anti-Semitism. And we call upon Speaker Pelosi and the Congressional leadership to immediately take concrete action to censure Rep. Omar for her offensive statements.