The American Jewish Committee responded today to remarks the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, made about anti-Semitism last week in Europe.
"As we informed Ambassador Gutman, we were appalled by his comments," executive director David Harris tells me in an email. "Muslim anti-Semitism, he should know, has a long and painful history of its own that has absolutely nothing to do with Israel. Moreover, he has inverted cause and effect -- Muslim anti-Semitism is a reason for the conflict with Israel, not a result. And it was this intolerance that also triggered the expulsion, at times accompanied by deadly violence, of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries, including my wife and her entire family, just as Christian minorities today in Iraq, Egypt and elsewhere face growing persecution, attacks, and pressure to leave."
Jen Rubin of the Washington Post reports that Senator Joe Lieberman and Congressman Gary Ackerman, both Democrats, have also condemned Gutman's remarks:
Sen. Joe Lieberman’s communications director e-mailed me this response: “Senator Lieberman believes that Ambassador Gutman’s remarks about anti-Semitism were unjustifiable and ahistorical. His view is that it is inexcusable to offer rationalizations for anti-Semitism or any other form of bigotry or hatred.” Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) told Right Turn: “There is no difference between the anti-Semites who hate Jews because they hate Jews and those who feel a need to cite a reason for their hateful anti-Semitism. Anyone who thinks they are different is simply anti-Semitic.”
Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich have called for Gutman either to be fired or for him to resign because of anti-Semitism. Gutman's full remarks can be read here.