Dan Feinreich
Dan Feinreich

Why aren’t Jewish Democrats in Congress demanding punishment for Omar & Tlaib?

Rep. Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota left, joined at right by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, listens to US President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In February, 2021, Jewish Democrats Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch cosponsored a resolution to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia from her committee assignments based, in part, on alleged antisemitic comments and social media posts that Greene made before she was elected to Congress.

Every Jewish Democrat voted to remove Greene from her committees.

So why won’t those same Jewish Democrats demand that Ilhan Omar and/or Rashida Tlaib be removed from their committee appointments on the basis of antisemitic comments and social media posts that Omar and Tlaib made after being elected to Congress?

There are several reasons.

First, Jewish Democrats view antisemitism as a weapon to be used against their political opponents – Republicans. Accusing Republicans of antisemitism provides Jewish Democrats with great opportunities for grandstanding and self-promotion. It’s great politics, and their Jewish Democrat constituents love it.

On the flip side, there are no political benefits for Jewish Democrats to push for the removal of Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib from their committees. On the contrary, it could be politically suicidal. Any Democrat who tried to do that would likely face a primary challenger in the next election.

Also, Omar and Tlaib have tremendous support within the Democratic Caucus, particularly from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus. Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed both Omar and Tlaib during their 2020 primaries. Jewish Democrats such as Andy Levin, Jan Schakowsky, David Cicilline and John Yarmuth have defended Omar in the past. Any attempt to punish Omar on the basis of antisemitism would most likely be undermined by Jewish Democrats like Levin and Schakowsky, who insist that Omar is not an antisemite.

Furthermore, picking a fight with Omar and Tlaib would be like picking a fight with all the progressive groups that have supported, defended or endorsed Omar and Tlaib, including CAIR, Black Lives Matter, MoveOn, NAACP, Planned Parenthood, the NEA, and other groups. Why pick a fight with those groups? Who needs the aggravation?

Finally, removing Omar and Tlaib from their committees is not an important issue among Democrat voters, including Jewish Democrat voters. Most non-Jewish Democrat voters would likely oppose it, while Jewish Democrat voters don’t seem to care. After all, Jewish Democrat members of Congress in predominantly Jewish congressional districts just got re-elected by doing nothing regarding Omar and Tlaib.

Jewish Democratic voters have shown that they are perfectly willing to tolerate the antisemitism of Omar and Tlaib and are perfectly willing to vote for Democrats who do nothing to confront the antisemitism of Omar and Tlaib.

So in the coming years, we can expect more antisemitic Democrats, similar to Omar and Tlaib, to run for public office at all levels of government, including Congress.

We can expect more antisemitic Democrats to get elected to Congress, and we can expect that Jewish Democrats in Congress, as well as Jewish Democratic voters, will do nothing about it.

About the Author
Dan works part-time as a writer on politics and current events.
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