Four Democrats, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, sent a letter to Biden on Tuesday asking him to lead a “united, all-of-government effort to combat rising antisemitism in this country.”
The letter offered up several examples of what they consider to be potentially harmful rhetoric coming from the halls of Congress on both sides of the aisle that they believe need to be addressed.
But Greene is not the only member of Congress referenced in the letter — the four Democrats make a passing reference to rhetoric used on Twitter by progressive Democrats who have accused the Israeli government of taking too heavy of a hand in the conflict with Palestinians.
“We also reject comments from Members of Congress accusing Israel of being an ‘apartheid state’ and committing ‘act[s] of terrorism.’ These statements are antisemitic at their core and contribute to a climate that is hostile to many Jews,” the letter read.
Meanwhile, while rejecting Greene’s comments, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused Pelosi of not doing enough to call out her members for their language in a statement earlier this week.
“At a time when the Jewish people face increased violence and threats, anti-Semitism is on the rise in the Democrat Party and is completely ignored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” McCarthy said. “Americans must stand together to defeat anti-Semitism and any attempt to diminish the history of the Holocaust.”
A spokesperson for Pelosi told CNN that in the past Pelosi has made it clear that she does not agree with the use of the term “apartheid state” and does not believe the Israeli government has committed acts of terrorism.
But while Republicans have attempted to deflect the criticism of Greene by bringing up the language of some progressive Democrats, those members of Congress argue that they are offering a substantive, policy based, critique of the Israeli government — not attacking an entire religion or downplaying the plight or history of the Jewish people.
After the letter was sent to Biden, CNN reached out to Omar’s office for a request for comment. Her spokesperson told CNN in a statement the same thing she tweeted from her official Twitter account minutes later — her support of the Jewish community but made it clear that she would not back down in her criticism of the Israeli government.
“The work of dismantling antisemitism, anti-Blackness, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism, and every other form of hate is OUR work. We will ONLY achieve collective liberation by leading with radical love. There is no room for hate of any kind in our movements for justice.”
Meanwhile, the White House is responding by attempting to bring groups together to find common ground. A group of Biden administration officials will be meeting with Jewish advocacy groups and stakeholders Wednesday evening, a White House official told CNN. The official declined to provide details on participants but added that the White House has been in “close and ongoing contact” with the Jewish community amid a rising tide of anti-Semitic incidents.
All four of the letter’s signatories, including Gottheimer and Reps. Elaine Luria of Virginia, Kathy Manning of North Carolina and Dean Phillips of Minnesota, are Jewish. They make it clear that they believe the issues related to anti-Semitism are not reserved to one political party.
“That is why we need a united, bipartisan, national-level commitment to confront and address the threat of antisemitism head-on. Antisemitism is wrong, and it deserves to be unequivocally condemned by all,” they wrote in the letter.