WASHINGTON (JTA) — An array of Jewish groups, including the activist arm of the Reform movement, blasted the likely incoming Republican House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, for pledging to remove Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee over past comments he has called antisemitic.
The tone of the statement released Monday was unusually combative for Jewish nonprofits, insinuating that McCarthy came closer to to expressing antisemitism than Omar did.
McCarthy, a California Republican whose party won a bare majority in U.S. House of Representatives last month, has pledged to remove Omar because of statements she made that critics say peddle antisemitic tropes about hidden and excessive Jewish power. She has apologized for some, but not all, of the statements.
In addition to Reform’s Religious Action Center, the statement was signed by Americans for Peace Now, J Street and Ameinu, all three liberal Jewish Middle East policy groups; the Habonim Dror camp movement; the New Israel Fund, which fund-raises for civil society groups in Israel; and T’ruah, a rabbinical human rights group.
“As Jewish American organizations, we oppose House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s pledge to strip Representative Ilhan Omar of her House Foreign Affairs Committee seat based on false accusations that she is antisemitic or anti-Israel,” said the statement. “We may not agree with some of Congresswoman Omar’s opinions, but we categorically reject the suggestion that any of her policy positions or statements merit disqualification from her role on the committee.”
McCarthy has also said he will remove California Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee; both members led investigations of former President Donald Trump’s alleged improprieties. Schiff, who is Jewish, currently chairs the Intelligence Committee and has taken a lead role in investigating the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the capitol spurred by Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
McCarthy has said that Democrats set the precedent when in 2021 the voted to keep off of committees a Georgia Republican, Marjorie Taylor Greene, because of her conspiracy peddling and incendiary comments.
The statement from the Jewish groups said McCarthy was targeting Omar, Swalwell and Schiff to distract from antisemitic expression in his own party.
“Leader McCarthy’s pledge seems especially exploitative in light of the rampant promotion of antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories by him and his top deputies amid a surge in dangerous right-wing antisemitism,” the statement said. “He posted (and later deleted) a tweet charging that George Soros and two other billionaires of Jewish descent were seeking to ‘buy’ an election. His newly elected Whip Tom Emmer [of Minnesota] said the same people ‘essentially bought control of Congress.’ Meanwhile, Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik [of New York] has promoted the deadly antisemitic ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory.”
The letter was initiated by J Street and Americans for Peace Now. APN, Ameinu and the Reform movement are all members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
McCarthy’s election as speaker is not yet guaranteed. A group far right members of his caucus has said it opposes him. The group is small but numbers enough members to deny him speakership in a House where Republicans lead only by five votes.
Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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