Thursday, March 30, 2023

Not impressed by the NORPAC (“Josh Gottheimer’s Vote on Ilhan Omar” February 23, 2023) letter. If you simply look up the responsibilities of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wikipedia, you’ll find that the HFAC plays a crucial role in Congressional foreign affairs regarding policy, budgeting, treaties, etc., in my humble opinion dwarfing the list of House resolutions and statements of sentiment sponsored by Rep. Gottheimer—most of which, though nice, are good PR but in the end don’t really move the needle all that much.

Not mentioned and contrary to NORPAC:

1. It was not a foregone conclusion that Omar would be removed from the HFAC. If you recall, some Republicans were leaning the other way, leaving the outcome in doubt until the last minute. No one knew until then that they would be “persuaded” to see the light.

2. And even if it was a foregone conclusion that Omar would be removed, Gottheimer, the bi-partisan problem solver, should have had the courage to do the right thing—i.e., to stand up and vote for removal. In contrast, when the vote was taken to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene from her HFAC assignments, eleven Republicans had the courage to vote for her removal from committees. They chose principle over politics.

3. BTW, that Omar was even granted a seat on the HFAC was a travesty, the blame for which rightfully lies at the feet of the former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (who, like many of her colleagues, was formerly a strong supporter of Israel).

My criticism does not come from partisanship. One can’t deny that Gottheimer has done many good things on behalf of the district and the broader Jewish Community. But when it comes to Israel, that’s where I draw the line and have no shame in being partisan. In the final analysis, it’s not enough to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk as well. Perhaps prior critical letters struck a nerve, as they well should have. I hope those voters in the 5th District who agree that Gottheimer was wrong, take action and reach out to Representative Gottheimer to make their feelings known. By doing so, maybe they will reduce the chances for such blunders in the future.

Steven Gilbert
Sign up now!