Today, February 2, 2023, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) released the following statement after introducing H.Res.92 “Recognizing Israel as America’s Legitimate and Democratic Ally and Condemning Antisemitism.”
“I have been consistent in my public condemnation of anti-Israel rhetoric and antisemitism — from either side of the political spectrum. I have also always believed in constructive engagement with those with differing viewpoints. For some time now, I have had an open, often emotional, sometimes pointed, and always honest dialogue with U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
It is no secret that, over the years, I have been unabashedly critical about Congresswoman Omar’s past comments. But, it is an enormous step forward that Congresswoman Omar has signed onto this Congressional Resolution in support of Israel as a Jewish and legitimate democratic State, that acknowledges Israel as a vital ally, and that condemns the use of antisemitic tropes, including those masquerading as anti-Israel sentiments. My hope is that the resolution (H.Res.92) — ‘Recognizing Israel as America’s Legitimate and Democratic Ally and Condemning Antisemitism’ — will reinforce to people across our country, especially the scores of young people who look up to Congresswoman Omar, the importance of rejecting reflexive antisemitism and historic tropes, and seeing Israel as a key, historic, democratic ally of the United States.
I am sure there will be issues in the future where Congresswoman Omar and I will differ, as in the past, and I will not be shy about my views. I know that debating our differences is what a healthy democracy demands. Removing a Member of Congress for inciting violence is appropriate. However, removing a Member for having different viewpoints — even ones I strongly oppose — violates the entire basis of our democracy. After all, what if next year, a Member of Congress targets me for my unshakable commitment to the U.S.-Israel relationship?
We have made progress with this Congressional Resolution — without rancor or name calling. It reflects what is possible. The work against hate, against anti-Israel antisemitism, and against violence targeting Jews continues — and all of us must be both resolute and ready to reach out. That is the best path forward.”