Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) was offended by Rep. Ilhan Omar’s suggestion that congressmen kowtow to Israel as a means to raise campaign funds from Jews.
“The rhetoric used by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar earlier is deeply concerning and implies that any Member who supports the safety and prosperity of our ally Israel is incapable of resisting outside influences,” said Sires. The United States and Israel have a deep history of shared values and mutual interests. I respect everyone’s first amendment right to freely express themselves, it is and will always remain the cornerstone of democracy.”
“I sincerely hope Congresswoman Omar would use her new seat in the House of Representatives to meet with the communities of all backgrounds and faiths before jumping to conclusions about her own colleagues’ motives,” said Sires, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere subcommittee.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) condemned the increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric across, but stopped short of mentioning Omar, a fellow freshman Democratic congresswoman, by name.
“This isn’t happening in a vacuum. Our leaders must hold themselves to a higher standard and ensure their words and actions do not promote hate or hurtful anti-Semitic stereotypes,” Sherrill said. “The Constitution protects freedom of speech, but we must expect more from our elected officials to heal divisions in our country and unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism. Long-standing bipartisan support for Israel in Congress is grounded in our common values and shared security interests.”
Sherrill said that she met with the American Jewish Committee last week to discuss “the dangerous rise of anti-Semitism across the country.”
“In New Jersey alone, we saw a 32 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017,” said Sherrill.