Politics

Jewish Groups Issue Tepid Responses To Tlaib’s Accusations Of Israeli ‘Apartheid’

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
Font Size:

Many prominent Jewish groups have only weakly criticized Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib following a rant in the House of Representatives that one fellow Democrat labeled anti-Semitic.

During Thursday’s floor debate over a $1 billion funding package for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, Tlaib accused Israel of being an “apartheid regime” that “manufactured” the “crisis” that made the funding necessary.

“We can not only be talking about Israelis’ need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system and are dying from what Human Rights Watch said are war crimes. We should also be talking about Palestinian need for security from Israeli attacks,” she said. (RELATED: Rep. Rashida Tlaib Claims Israel Is A ‘Racist State’ For Excluding Palestinians From COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout)

Tlaib immediately faced bipartisan criticism for her remarks.

“I cannot allow one of my colleagues to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and label the Jewish democratic state of Israel an apartheid state. I reject it,” Democratic Florida Rep. Ted Deutch responded. “When there is no place on the map for one Jewish state, that’s anti-Semitism.”

“They have a vocal minority in the majority party that is anti-Israel, that is anti-Semitic, and as Americans we can never stand for that. I grew up with Holocaust survivors. I grew up with children of Holocaust survivors. Israel has been attacked and attacked and attacked since its inception. As Americans I beseech you. I reach out to the majority and I say condemn what we just heard on the floor,” Republican Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said.

However, many Jewish advocacy organizations have been slow to condemn her remarks. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) cheered the passage of the appropriations bill and called on the Senate to pass it, as well.

But when reached for comment, the ADL did not respond to the Daily Caller’s question about Tlaib’s remarks. The organization did not name Tlaib, instead reemphasizing its support for the funding.

Similarly, the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) praised the passing of the bill but did not name Tlaib.

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) slammed Tlaib’s comments and JDCA’s silence.

“Congresswoman Tlaib’s comments attacking our ally Israel on the floor of the House of Representatives were appalling. Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident, as House Democratic leadership has refused time and again to hold their members accountable for dangerous anti-Israel rhetoric. In contrast, House Republican leadership has consistently held their members accountable, whether that be former Rep. Steve King or current Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. RJC proudly and righteously supported primary challengers against both Steve King and Marjorie Taylor Greene – while the Jewish Democratic Council of America has refused to support primary challengers against Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar. Bottom line: the GOP and RJC walk the walk, while the Democrats and JDCA shrug and balk,” RJC national political director Sam Markstein told the Daily Caller.

The American Jewish Congress (AJC) did not name Tlaib in its statement celebrating the passage of the funding, only referring to “irresponsible rhetoric made by a small group of legislators about Israel that was both swiftly denounced by Members from both sides of the aisle.”

An AJC spokesman later clarified to the Daily Caller that the organization “view[s] calls for the dismantlement of the State of Israel as inherently antisemitic.”

“Demonizing the sole Jewish state on the House floor by embracing conspiratorial thinking that accuses Israel of ‘manufacturing’ crises or out-rightly accusing it of being a ‘violent apartheid state’ is clearly a new low for American politics on the floor of the people’s house. The American Jewish Congress strongly applauds Rep. Ted Deutch’s powerful refutation of this anti-Israel vitriol,” the spokesman said.

“Words have consequences, and this kind of language used by elected officials should be denounced by all Members of Congress. The overwhelming vote against this rhetoric yesterday was a good start.”

The American Israel Political Affairs Committee ripped Tlaib’s “vicious, dangerous lies,” although it did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment on whether it would support sanctions on Tlaib.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) went the furthest, calling on Democratic leadership to strip Tlaib, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Minnesota Reps. Ilhan Omar and Betty McCollum, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal of their committee seats.

“The Squad members … demonstrated that endangering Jews and Israel is their top priority―even more important to them than keeping the U.S. government operating, and even more important to them than enacting their $3.5 trillion spending agenda,” ZOA President Morton Klein said.