Greg Rosenbaum, chair of National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), on Saturday released a statement saying “I was shocked and horrified when I heard the remarks made by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) today stating that we are ‘Jewish second, ‘ and implying that Democrats are anti-Semitic.”
If you were away from your favorite media source on Shabbat, you should know that Rosenbaum made his angry comment in response to Rep. King’s answer to a question from Boston Herald radio hosts Adriana Cohen and Tom Shattuck about member of Congress who boycotted Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s speech in Congress, March 3.
King said: “Well, there were some 50 or so Democrats that decided they would boycott the president’s speech. One thing that’s happened is — just look at the polling, that means — here is one thing that I don’t understand, I don’t understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their president.”
OK, so the Congressman doesn’t know that Netanyahu is not the president of Israel. I’m pretty sure the second president he referred to is Obama, though. It’s hard to delineate a meaningful statement from the quote, other than, obviously, Jews shouldn’t be Democrats.
King also opined: “Anti-Semitism is a component of this and just plain liberalism is another component.”
Executive director of the American Jewish Committee David Harris, who used to head the NJDC, told CNN King’s statements “painfully wrongheaded and hurtful.”
“It’s a painfully wrongheaded understanding of American Jews and this kind of collective description should have no place in American political discourse, ” Harris said. “American Jews, like other faith and ethnic groups, are a very diverse community in their thinking, in their policies and in their voting behavior.”
“I know lots of American Jews who support the President and many others who don’t support the President on Israel on Iran policy, ” Harris added.