Republicans this week criticized Democratic members of Congress who support the Occupy Wall Street movement amid reports of a small number of protesters expressing antisemitism.
The Republican National Committee on Tuesday issued a memo from communications director Sean Spicer entitled: "OWS Anti-Semitism: Where's the Outrage?" An excerpt:
Where's the outrage? While protestors are seen spewing hate against Jewish Americans, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz have declared their support for the demonstrations. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Steve Israel even circulated a petition saying he's "standing with" Occupy Wall Street.
Is Steve Israel standing with those calling for the killing of Jews? Does Debbie Wasserman Schultz agree with the various calls for Jews to be "run out of this country" and to oppose and "destroy" the state of Israel?
The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a web ad targeting Israel, head of their Democratic counterpart, that provoked swift condemnation from the New York congressman.
"Steve Israel stands with them," the NRCC says, in a video that features anti-Israel signage from protesters as well as a man saying "I'm against the Jews" and a confrontation between a protester and a man wearing a yarmulke. "Go back to Israel," the protester says.
Watch the NRCC ad below:
Israel, who is Jewish and served as president of the Institute on the Holocaust and the Law prior to his election to Congress, sent a letter to supporters Thursday highlighting the attacks and asking recipients to sign a petition expressing their disdain for Republicans' efforts against him.
"The extreme right wing has launched an outrageous attack to distract us from their reckless economic policies: They are questioning my commitment to my own religion," Israel said in his letter.
"I'm proud of my Jewish faith and heritage, of my leadership for Israel's safety and security and my strong fight against the serious threats of anti-Semitism. It is outrageous that national Republicans are questioning that."
Many conservatives have been loathe to connect the tea party to the Occupy Wall Street protests, but Republicans this week made that very comparison in order to accuse Democrats of being hypocritical.
"Democrats were quick to single out any instances of perceived extremism among Tea Party supporters, but with Occupy Wall Street, they turn a blind eye," Spicer wrote in his memo.
"Occupy Wall Street is not anti-Semitic, and the presence of a few odd Jew-haters is not the movement's fault," Michelle Goldberg wrote at Tablet, an online magazine of Jewish news and culture. "Its inability to quickly shut them up, though, may augur problems for its future."
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