Jewish House Democrats Urge Biden to Appoint Anti-Semitism Ambassador

May 28, 2021 Updated: May 28, 2021

Three Jewish House Democrats are calling on President Joe Biden to appoint an ambassador-at-large to combat anti-Semitism that has emerged in the United States in the wake of violence between Hamas and Israel this month.

In a May 25 letter to the president, Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.), and Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) said that they are “deeply disturbed” by the recent surge of anti-Semitic incidents in the country.

“It is undeniable that this increase in anti-Semitic incidents has coincided with recent conflict in the Middle East. It must be made clear that there is simply no excuse whatsoever for harassing or targeting people because they are Jewish. Blaming Jews for conflict in the Middle East or seeking to hold them collectively responsible for Israel’s government policies is anti-Semitic, and it is wrong,” the lawmakers wrote.

The trio cited recent attacks on Jewish Americans in New York, California, and Florida, saying that Jews across the United States are facing an “extraordinarily tense environment of fear and insecurity.”

“We believe we need a united, all-of-government effort to combat rising anti-Semitism in this country,” they said.

The lawmakers urged the president to nominate “an experienced and qualified” United States ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.

The group also criticized recent “reckless, irresponsible anti-Semitic rhetoric” from “elected officials,” referring to comments made online by the progressive “Squad,” without naming members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.).

conference at the U.S. Capitol
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) speak at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019. (Holly Kellum/NTD)

“These include repeated, unacceptable, and blatantly antisemitic statements made by a Member of Congress comparing face masks and other COVID-19 public health measures to ‘what happened in Nazi Germany’ during the Holocaust,” the letter states.

“We also reject comments from Members of Congress accusing Israel of being an ‘apartheid state’ and committing ‘act[s] of terrorism.’ These statements are anti-Semitic at their core and contribute to a climate that is hostile to many Jews.”

The members of the “Squad” have come under fire in recent days for their controversial anti-Israel comments on Twitter as violence intensified between Israel and Hamas, a designated terrorist group since 1997, before a ceasefire agreement was eventually reached on May 20. The 11-day conflict started when Hamas launched rockets into Israel over a court case to evict several Palestinian families in East Jerusalem that triggered riots.

Ocasio-Cortez said Biden’s defense of Israel’s use of force to protect itself against the terrorist group was “siding with the occupation.”

Tlaib meanwhile accused Israel of “promoting racism and dehumanization” under a discriminatory “apartheid system.”

“Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism,” Omar wrote. “Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs such as Iron Dome don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians. It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid.”

“Squad” members didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.

Gottheimer, Luria, and Manning called for a “united, bipartisan, national-level commitment” to tackle the threat of anti-Semitism “head-on.”

“Sadly, we have learned from our history that when this type of violence and inflammatory rhetoric goes unaddressed, it can fuel increasing hatred and violence, and lead to unspeakable acts against Jews,” the Democrats wrote. “Anti-Semitism is wrong, and it deserves to be unequivocally condemned by all.”