February 23, 2024
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February 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Regarding Dr. Laurie Baumel’s and Ben Chouake’s letter supporting Rep. Josh Gottheimer in The Jewish Link (“Josh Gottheimer’s Vote on Ilhan Omar,” February 23, 2023), I must strongly disagree. I support and honor Baumel’s work on behalf of NORPAC, an extremely important local Jewish pro-Israel advocacy group. However, notwithstanding the entirety of this letter highlighting the praiseworthy pro-Israel efforts of Gottheimer, I believe the writers miss the point. The point is not Josh, as they refer to him; the point is Rep. Omar and her vicious antisemitism and anti-Israel bromides. Here I highlight just a few of Omar’s statements taken directly out of House Resolution 241 condemning her:

Whereas in 2012, Representative Omar tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”; Whereas in 2018, Representative Omar posted, “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews.”; Whereas the latest controversial tweets from Representative Omar suggest Jewish people are buying political support. She tweeted “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” a reference to a song about $100 bill, and AIPAC, a pro-Israeli lobbying group; Whereas Representative Omar stated during a town hall, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for the allegiance to a foreign country.”; Whereas Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Representative Omar’s statements saying, “We condemn these remarks and call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize” …

Removing or blocking House members from committee assignments is not a recent invention. In 2020, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, was quickly stripped of her committee assignments by Pelosi, when it became clear she was a consumer and distributor of bizarre conspiracy theories, including one linking Jews and space lasers. Further, Speaker Kevin McCarthy blocked Rep. Steve King of Iowa from Committee assignments when King told The New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?”

The issue as stated is not “Josh” but Omar. Would we welcome a Hitler on the Foreign Affairs Committee and say, like Gottheimer, “… removing a Member for having different viewpoints—even ones I strongly oppose—violates the entire basis of our democracy,” or would we boot them? Notwithstanding one recent, more balanced approach by Omar, I would boot her.

Jeffrey Rubin
Teaneck
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