Statement ● Human and Civil Rights
For Immediate Release: 
March 7, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of a resolution condemning bigotry and prejudice in all forms, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and white nationalism. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and a link to the video:
 

Click here to watch the full remarks.

“It is important to call out anti-Semitism in a way that is unmistakable and unambiguous.  We must do so because whenever some people begin to question the allegiance or patriotism of Americans – indeed, whether certain people fully belong as part of our country – it is critical to set the record straight.  
 
“Recent statements employing timeworn tropes of dual loyalty have deeply unsettled American Jewish communities because their allegation is, simply put, that American Jews who support Israel are not loyal to this country.  Such allegations fall into a centuries-old and dark history of Jews being marginalized and set apart.  They recall past evils that occurred in other countries and in our own when, according to the Anti-Defamation League, people accused Jews of ‘being disloyal neighbors or citizens’ because of their connection to Israel or Jewish communities elsewhere in the world.
 
“To be clear: the First Amendment protects the right of every American to criticize policies and leaders, whether in our own country or others.  However, in these past few weeks, those who say they are only criticizing Israel’s leaders or policies have instead been making claims about the allegiance and motivation of Israel’s defenders.  I do not believe that anyone in our Caucus wishes to silence debate over policy; rather, what is being called for is an end to the invocation of age-old anti-Semitic tropes that demonize people instead of critique policies.
 
“Accusations that Jews bear dual allegiance because of support for Israel or concern for its safety are false and hurtful canards that must be opposed and exposed for what they are: bigotry. They elicit legitimate fear and uncertainty in the individuals and communities they target.
 
“In much the same way, we have also seen vile examples of hatred aimed at painting Muslim Americans as somehow disloyal to our nation or not fully belonging, causing similar feelings of insecurity and distress.  Those feelings cannot be discounted either.  One of our own colleagues was the target of an Islamophobic attack, impugning a Member of this House.  That is unacceptable to all of us who serve here. 
 
“We have seen this same form of exclusionary hatred in recent years whenever acts of bigotry have been directed against African Americans and when Latino and Latina citizens have been yelled at to ‘go back to their countries.’  This phenomenon is also a reminder of the horrific internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.  In our multicultural republic, sometimes it is incumbent upon the American people to speak as one nation, indivisible, and make a clear affirmation that all Americans have an equal share in our republic, that no one’s race or creed or origin can call into question one’s love of country.  I will continue to urge unity in the face of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism against African-Americans and Latinos and Asian-Americans, and other forms of prejudice and discrimination.
 
“American Jews, including those who serve our nation in Congress, need to be reassured that they are equal partners in the diverse coalition for justice, opportunity, tolerance, and equality – and that they have true allies who stand with them as firmly as they have stood with others.  I will continue to make that clear. 
 
“America is rightfully respected for its Declaration of Independence and Constitution, as amended and perfected, both of which proclaim the dignity and rights of individuals endowed by their creator.  But America has also seen, too often, the denial of that dignity and equality to millions of its citizens based upon the color of their skin, the land of their birth, or the faith of their forebears.
 
“If we are to be better than our past, we must reject all forms of bigotry and prejudice directed at any of our fellow human beings and fellow Americans.”