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GOP lawmaker claims Jayapal's criticism of Israeli airstrikes is 'antisemitic'

Rep. Pramila Jayapal also condemned Hamas for its attacks.

By Josh Israel - May 24, 2021
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Guy Reschenthaler

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) wants Congress to condemn a Democratic member of the House for criticizing both Israel and Hamas for their roles in recent violence, suggesting that doing so was antisemitic. But he has been noticeably silent when Republicans have spouted clearly antisemitic tropes.

Reschenthaler filed a resolution on Friday to condemn statements made by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and what he termed “anti-Semitic hate speech.” His resolution notes that in a CNN interview on May 20, she repeatedly condemned the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas for firing rockets at Israelis, but also said Israel deserves blame for undermining a two-state solution and for not doing more to promote peace in the Middle East.

“I think what Hamas has done is—obviously we condemn that—but we have to look at the power balance here, or imbalance as it were, and we have to put more responsibility on Israel in maintaining peace in the region,” the resolution quotes her as saying in the interview.

Reschenthaler’s resolution to condemn Jayapal’s statements contains affirmations that “blaming Israel for Hamas rocket attacks and justifying terrorism is a form of anti-Semitic speech” and “spreading hateful misinformation about the State of Israel feeds anti-Semitism against Jewish people at home and abroad.”

But while he has been reportedly among the first to accuse Democrats of antisemitism, Reschenthaler has been noticeably silent when Republicans have made overtly antisemitic comments.

In August of 2019, Donald Trump said that American Jews who voted for Democrats were being “being very disloyal to Jewish people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other than that.”

At the time, the CEO of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris, demanded Trump “stop such divisive rhetoric” and “retract his disparaging remarks.” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt noted that “charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews,” writing, “It’s long overdue to stop using Jews as a political football.”

But Reschenthaler did not condemn Trump’s statements.

He also refused to hold antisemitic Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) accountable after she wrote on social media in 2018 that secret space lasers controlled by the prominent Jewish banking family Rothschild were responsible for deadly wildfires in California and shared an anti-Muslim video portraying Jews as aiming to destroy Europe through “immigration and miscegenation.”

A spokesperson for Reschenthaler did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

But though Reschenthaler now says it is antisemitic to put any responsibility for Middle East peace on Israel, Trump made a similar comment in December 2015 in an interview with the Associated Press.

“I have a real question as to whether or not both sides want to make it,” he said of peace, adding it was really mostly up to Israel. “A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things. They may not be, and I understand that, and I’m OK with that. But then you’re just not going to have a deal.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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