GOP Congressman Blasts White House for Omitting Jews From List of Minorities Threatened by Islamic State
Lee Zeldin, the freshman Republican congressman from New York, has strongly criticized the Obama Administration for leaving Jews out of a list of ethnic and religious groups threatened by the Islamic State terrorist organization.
The wording of President Obama’s proposed authorization of force against IS mentions Iraqi Christians, Yezidis and Turkmens, but says nothing about Jews.
“I see an understanding, a recognition in the resolution with regards to [IS] 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 antisemitism.”
Zeldin questioned whether the White House deliberately left out Jews as an ethnic group that IS 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.”
Zeldin’s comments came during a week in which Obama was lambasted for describing the Islamist terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris last month, in which four Jews were murdered, as a “random” action. Notably, the president made no mention of the Jewish nature of either the target or the victims.
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. That text, drafted by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), specifically states that IS has “threatened genocide and committed vicious acts of violence against religious and ethnic minority groups, including Iraqi Christians, Yezidi, and Turkmen populations.”
Moreover, there are no Jewish communities in those areas of Syria and Iraq which IS controls. Nonetheless, said Zeldin, “I strongly believe we were reminded in Paris that these radical Islamic extremists, they want to wipe Israel off the map. They target not only Jews but our freedom and our exceptionalism as Americans — the whole western world.”