Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar Reuters

In a strongly-worded letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1000 traditional rabbis in matters of public policy, called the appointment of Representative Ilhan Omar to the House Foreign Affairs Committee a “slap in the face” and “tantamount to saying that anti-Semitism is acceptable to the United States House of Representatives.” The CJV called for Omar to be removed from the committee, and compared her situation to that of Representative Steve King, who was stripped of all committee assignments by Republican leaders despite denying an endorsement of white nationalism attributed to him and sharing in its condemnation.

As detailed in the CJV’s letter, Omar declared that Israel “has hypnotized the world” and prayed that “Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel” when Israel defended itself against an unprovoked Hamas missile barrage aimed at civilians in 2012. On CNN this week, Omar defended these comments and said they were aimed only at the “Israeli regime.”

“Madam Speaker,” reads the CJV letter, “you know well that the word ‘regime’ is specifically associated with authoritarianism, whereas Israel is the sole democracy in the Middle East.” It goes on to detail three separate ways in which Omar’s statements fall within the US State Department definition of anti-Semitism, and concludes that “according to both the United States State Department and thousands of years of rabbinic knowledge (and cruel experience) of the virulent hatred directed against the Jewish People, Rep. Omar’s comments clearly and obviously crossed the line into anti-Semitism.”

“The Democrat Party once proudly included the strongest of Israel supporters among its national leaders,” said Rabbi Dov Fischer, West Coast Regional Vice President of the CJV. “It is painful to acknowledge that the party that once was led by people like Hubert Humphrey, Henry Jackson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan has placed an unabashed Jew-hater onto the one committee where an anti-Semite can perhaps do the most harm.”