Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., on Monday encouraged members of Congress to stand up to anti-Semitic rhetoric coming from some Democrats saying that if they don’t, “it becomes more and more of a problem for our country as you see anti-Semitism continue to rise.”
“I do know that there are still some members of Congress who know better and are motivated to do something about it,” Zeldin told Starnes on Monday.
“I would encourage them to speak out today, this week, bring it up to leadership because if you don’t stand up to it, if you don’t identify and crush this rhetoric, these policies we’re hearing about, it’s only going to grow to be more and more of headache for them politically. but more importantly, it becomes more and more of a problem for our country as you see anti-Semitism continue to rise and this anti-Israel hate should not be welcome.”
Zeldin joined the chorus of criticism Monday, which included President Trump, denouncing the comments on Twitter.
Trump tweeted on Monday, "Democrat Rep. Tlaib is being slammed for her horrible and highly insensitive statement on the Holocaust. She obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?"
The president's remarks came as fellow Republicans, including Zeldin, called for Democratic leaders to "take action" against their colleague from Michigan.
Tlaib drew backlash after she discussed the Holocaust on a Yahoo News podcast on Friday where she used the phrase "calming feeling" in reference to its aftermath.
“I believe that with regards to Rashida Tlaib, some of the comments that have been made by Ilhan Omar where Speaker Pelosi in the past has said that they’re new members, they don’t mean to offend anyone, it’s not anti-Semitism, I actually give these members more credit than Speaker Pelosi does, I believe that they know exactly what they‘re saying and doing,” Zeldin said.
He then brought up Tlaib’s interview on Friday’s podcast saying, “For Rashida Tlaib to be talking about how thinking about the Holocaust gives her a calming feeling as she thinks back to how the Palestinians gave safe haven to the Jews and this whole thing is in the context of answering a question about why she supports a one-state solution that would remove Jews from power in their own country in Israel. This whole interview blows my mind.”
Zeldin went on to say that there are Congressional Democrats, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and New Jersey Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who “know better and speak out against it,” adding that that group “used to be the Democratic party and now we’re just talking about a small fraction of people who know that it’s wrong and are motivated to speak out against it no matter what the consequences are. We need more of that.”
He then said that anti-Semitic rhetoric is on the rise adding that, “We’re hearing from members of Congress, it’s in politics, it’s out of politics, it’s on college campuses and elsewhere so we should actually have a heightened sensitivity than any other time before because of how much it has become an issue.”