Rep. Ted Deutch blames Democratic colleagues who oppose Israel for spike in antisemitism


(JTA) — Rep. Ted Deutch, a Jewish Democratic congressman from Florida, blamed anti-Israel congresspeople in his own party for the recent spike in antisemitism.

Speaking at a virtual event with fellow lawmakers on Thursday that addressed recent antisemitism in Florida, Deutch called out “people in the United States who hear that the entire state of Israel is some unacceptable creation,” according to Jewish Insider. He also referenced Democrats who oppose Israel or accuse it of “apartheid,” such as Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush and Ilhan Omar.

“When we have colleagues whose position is ‘Palestine from the river to the sea,’ which includes no place for a Jewish state, and when our colleagues…wrongly and falsely describe Israel as an apartheid state, there is a context for all of this,” Deutch said, according to Jewish Insider.

Deutch added, “Attacks like that against Jews have led to antisemitism and expulsion, and violence around the world.”

Rep. Lois Frankel, a Jewish Democrat who serves a district neighboring Deutch’s, said at the same event that she preferred to “attack antisemitism, not necessarily the person,” because “Somehow when you attack people who are saying terrible things, you help them raise a lot of money,” Jewish Insider reported.

The event took place on the same night as an in-person event at the Florida Holocaust Museum in Tampa Bay, protesting a recent vandalism attack against the museum. Last week, the museum was graffitied with swastikas and the message “The Jews are guilty.”

At the event, the museum’s executive director, Elizabeth Gelman, read a letter to the museum from President Joe Biden condemning the vandalism.

“As the president has said, the recent surge in antisemitic attacks is despicable, and it must end immediately,” the letter said. “The Biden-Harris Administration is working every day to stop these attacks and to ensure that everyone is safe.”

Elizabeth Gelman, executive director of The Florida Holocaust Museum, holds a letter written by the Biden administration at the museum’s rally, June 3, 2021. (Courtesy of The Florida Holocaust Museum

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