JTA: Meet the ‘Anti-Squad’: Rep. Elissa Slotkin and her ‘gang’ offer Democrats a path of moderation

August 6, 2019

In remarks recorded last weekend at a Detroit area fund-raiser for Jewish Democrats, Slotkin appeared to skewer Republicans for talking about anti-Semitism only to court Jewish support. Although the full context of her remarks are not clear from the reporting by the Washington Free Beacon, a GOP mouthpiece, Republicans pounced.

Said Slotkin: “We have, what I believe is a full-on attempt by the Republican Party to grab a different community and bring them into the fold, and I will just be very honest, right, they are not looking for our votes, because we are a relatively small community, they are looking for our donors, right? They are looking for our donors, and they are trying to sway us…”

Although it is clear that she has not finished her sentence, the recording cuts off there.

“Congresswoman Slotkin should refrain from denigrating her fellow Jews by saying that they are only wanted for their money,” the Republican Jewish Coalition said.

Slotkin said the remarks were part of a broader critique of attempts by Trump and the Republican party to depict Democrats as the sole purveyors of anti-Semitism. Trump, for example, has repeatedly called the party anti-Semitic and anti-Israel because of pronouncements, criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, made by Omar and Tlaib.

“We need to be hyper-vigilant to focus on anyone who is anti-Semitic, and we can’t pick and choose, and we shouldn’t let the Jewish community be used as a pawn in the discussion,” Slotkin said.

Halie Soifer, the director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, defended Slotkin’s broader point.

“She is correct that Republican attempts to use anti-Semitism and Israel as political wedge issues will fail at attracting Jewish voters,” Soifer said.