House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Chicago Tuesday to attend a Democratic fundraiser, just days after protesters staged a sit-in at her D.C. office.
Activists assembled at Pelosi’s office Thursday after the Speaker failed to denounce anti-Semitism in her caucus. Pelosi’s inaction has led some to say that she has lost control of her party to emboldened, anti-Israel radicals.
Ignoring criticism of her inept response to the controversy, Pelosi left D.C. this week and made appearances in Missouri, Illinois and New York to address everything from lowering the voting age to 16 to amnesty — everything, that is, except anti-Semitism.
Pelosi avoiding protesters?
The speaker gave an address at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee luncheon fundraiser for House Democrats in Chicago. “As you know, our important work continues this cycle as we prepare to defend our 44 Frontline incumbents, including two here in Illinois, and look to expand our majority by maintaining pressure on Republican incumbents,” Pelosi said in the invitation.
While the fundraiser might appear to be business as usual, it’s been anything but back in Washington. Back at her office, protests against Pelosi’s handling of the anti-Semitism controversy in her caucus roiled last week. Jewish protesters staged a sit-in at Pelosi’s office last Thursday in response to her inaction against anti-Semitic remarks from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
Protesters led by Rabbi Aryeh Spero, spokesman for the National Conference of Jewish Affairs, and the Zionist Organization of America gathered at Pelosi’s office to express their anger with her party’s diluted resolution to condemn “all hate” rather than anti-Semitism specifically.
Pelosi had initially planned to rebuke Omar with a resolution condemning anti-Semitism after the congresswoman commented that pro-Israel politicians have an “allegiance to a foreign country,” but the speaker backslid under pressure from radical progressives in the House. In the end, Pelosi made excuses for Omar’s comments, saying the freshman didn’t fully understand what she was saying, and settled on a resolution that neither singled out Omar nor condemned anti-Semitism in particular.
It was a dramatic pivot from the first round of the Omar drama, when Pelosi unequivocally rebuked Omar’s “anti-Semitic tropes” after the congresswoman invoked stereotypes about Jews and money in comments about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in February. Protesters who gathered at her office Thursday were not pleased with Pelosi’s response.
“We have come today to your office to communicate our severe displeasure and wonderment over your refusal to specifically condemn the anti-Semitic remarks of Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar,” Rabia Kazan, president and founder of the Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition, said, quoting Rabbi Spero. “Speaker Pelosi, you had a chance to stop anti-Semitism dead in its tracks; you did not. You had a chance to shut down the burgeoning anti-Jewish and anti-Israel attitudes seeping into America’s House of Representatives, but you didn’t.”
Pelosi ignores anti-Semitism
Kazan also read aloud a letter written by the father of slain Jewish journalist, Daniel Pearl, who was killed by terrorists, calling on Pelosi to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. Spero also attended the protest to express his dismay and call for Omar’s censure.
“They did not pass a stand-alone resolution against anti-Semitism that was in their own house,” Spero said. “Instead they passed this watered-down thing about hate in general, but that’s not where the source of the sin was. It was in anti-Semitism from a congresswoman and they watered it down as if it had nothing to do with Judaism.”
Pelosi appointed Omar to the Foreign Affairs Committee, but despite Omar’s repeated anti-Semitic remarks since then, no Democrats have backed calls from Republicans to discipline Omar by removing her from the influential committee. The protesters cited with approval Jewish lawmaker Eliot Engel (D-NY), Foreign Affairs Committee chair, who called Omar’s comments a “vile anti-Semitic slur.” However, even Engel has not endorsed taking Omar off the committee.
“Omar should be censured and, beyond that, removed from the powerful and influential House Foreign Affairs Committee that Speaker Pelosi surprisingly granted to this first-year legislator. Omar’s thinking, her conduct, and her blithe willingness to inject anti-Semitic tropes into the legislative process make her unfit to hold such a strategic position,” Rabbi Spero said.
Just days after the protest unfolded, the Speaker was carrying on business as usual with the Tuesday luncheon fundraiser in Chicago and a Monday stop in Missouri to boost voting rights legislation. On Wednesday, Pelosi was in New York to endorse “immigration reform” to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants with mayor Bill De Blasio.
Pelosi seems to have plenty of time to discuss amnesty and lowering the voting age to 16, but isn’t saying anything about her failure to condemn anti-Semitism. Why is that?