Bipartisan criticism of President Barack Obama’s proposed authorization of force against ISIS mostly has to do with the use of U.S. troops and limits on the commander-in-chief. However, one Republican lawmaker noticed something else that he calls quite troubling—the omission of the word “Jews.”
Freshman Lee Zeldin is the only Republican Jewish member of Congress, and says that it immediately leapt off the page that the President’s proposed resolution specifically singles out several ethnic groups threated by ISIS: Iraqi Christians, Yezidis, and Turkmens, but says nothing about Jews.
“I see an understanding, a recognition in the resolution with regards to ISIS attacks on Muslims, on Christians and others, and I didn’t see a reference to Jews,” Zeldin told CNN in an interview. “And one of the efforts I’ve been involved in is trying to raise awareness for the rising tide of anti-semitism.”
The New York Republican questioned whether the White House purposefully left out Jews as an ethnic group that ISIS has threatened.
“I think that when the White House is drafting a resolution for the authorization of force, that every single word, every phrase in there is done deliberately — it has to be,” said Zeldin.
“Jews should have been included by the White House,” he said.
The omission comes on the heels of a recent comment from Obama that called the attack on a kosher deli in Paris “random.” The White House was later forced to clarify that the President did not mean to imply that the incident was not “motivated by anti-Semitism,” according to Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
However, the White House argues that its war request draft language borrows from the resolution passed in the then-Democratic led Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year.
In fact, it does mirror that text drafted by Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, word-for-word, saying, “Whereas ISIL has threatened genocide and committed vicious acts of violence against religious and ethnic minority groups, including Iraqi Christians, Yezidi, and Turkmen populations.”
However, that was before the Jewish Kosher deli attack.
Zeldin said that the targeting of the kosher deli in January 2015 is proof that ISIS is committed to vicious acts against Jews around the world.
“I strongly believe we were reminded in Paris that these radical Islamic extremists, they want to wipe Israel off the map,” said Zeldin. “They target not only Jews but our freedom our exceptionalism as Americans — the whole western world.”
“The pursuit of ISIS includes a threat not just to Muslims, not just to Jews, not just to Christians, but everyone and it all should be recognized in the resolution,” he said.
Zeldin sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which will be debating and voting on the use of force resolution. Zeldin said that he intends to try to get Jews included in any text that actually becomes the law of the land.