Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s inflammatory comments about Israel have fueled a new push for the formal establishment of a bipartisan Jewish Caucus for lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
No such caucus in Congress currently exists. But Jack Rosen, the president of the American Jewish Congress, said a formalized group of Jewish lawmakers is needed to push back against a rise in anti-Semitism. He is leading efforts to convince lawmakers to form such a caucus.
“I was alarmed that the House couldn’t pass a resolution that directly pinpointed where the problem was -- which was Omar’s anti-Semitic tropes,” Rosen said in an interview with Fox News. “That’s what got me to think about this a little more.”
Democrats in March drafted a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism in the wake of Omar’s remarks, including her accusation that American supporters of Israel are pushing “allegiance to a foreign country.” Omar, who was elected to Congress last year, also suggested on Twitter in February that supporters of Israel have been bought.
But after protests from the progressive wing of the party, the resolution was watered down to broadly condemn all forms of bigotry.
Another lawmaker, Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has also come under criticism for suggesting that Senate Republicans are more loyal to Israel than the United States.
“In the recent past, such comments would have been met with swift bipartisan scorn, repudiation and possibly censure. But that’s not what happened,” Rosen wrote in a recent op-ed for The Hill.
In reference to the watered-down resolution, Rosen said, “Had there been a bipartisan Jewish caucus at the table to intervene, the outcome might well have been different.”
Speaking to Fox News, Rosen called for the caucus to be bipartisan, saying Republicans and Democrats should “come together” on combatting anti-Semitism.