Elaine Luria, a Jewish Democrat from Virginia, called out House colleagues in her farewell speech to Congress for allegedly insinuating the antisemitic dual loyalty myth about Israel.
“The first time I stood in this very spot to speak on the floor of the House, I rose as a Jewish woman to speak out against antisemitism,” Luria said Wednesday.
“It has seen a rapid and alarming rise and has even reared its head among our colleagues in our chamber in the forms of claims of dual loyalty to those who show support for Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East.”
Luria appeared to be alluding to fellow Democratic Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
In a tweet in 2019, Tlaib criticized Republicans for supporting a bill aimed at the boycott of Israel, adding, “They forgot what country they represent.”
Omar accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a formidable pro-Israel lobby, of buying influence that same year.
After apologizing, she asserted that she should not be silenced for calling attention to the activities of a “powerful lobbying organization” and challenging people who believe it is OK to promote allegiance to another nation.
Luria was one of the Democrats most closely aligned with the traditional pro-Israel lobby.
She was elected in 2018 among a cohort of female legislators who rode a wave of resentment against former President Donald Trump.
She signed a letter last year with three other Democrats accusing Omar and Tlaib of making antisemitic remarks.
Many Jewish progressives have continuously defended Omar, claiming it is unfair to charge her with antisemitism.
Even though the charge that Jews have allegiances to nations other than their own and cannot be trusted extends back thousands of years before the state of Israel was founded, American Jews’ support for Israel has become a target of criticism in antisemitic rhetoric in the decades following 1948.
Several times, notably in the Oval Office in 2019, former president Donald Trump has cited the belief that American Jews are disloyal if they do not fully back Israel.
Luria, a former captain in the Navy, won twice in a Republican-leaning district with a high concentration of Navy veterans.
Despite understanding that it could harm her reputation in her area, she assumed a leadership position in the investigation into suspected wrongdoing by Trump.
She mentioned the oath she swore to uphold the Constitution in an ad while holding up a worn Hebrew bible as she explained why she voted to impeach Trump.
At the end of her second term, she suffered a narrow defeat in Virginia’s 2nd District in November.
Luria also mentioned the dangers of antisemitism and its wider spread in her floor statement on Wednesday.
As she reflected on her opening remarks to Congress, she stated, “I am even more concerned today about the increased frequency and pervasiveness of antisemitism.”
I beg my coworkers to keep up the fight against the scourge of vicious and destructive antisemitism.