Jews in my home state of Pennsylvania and around the United States are living in frustrating times.

Hate crimes committed against Jews are at record levels, social media is a cesspool of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel comments, and in the Capitol Building, members of Congress have mainstreamed antisemitism.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution expressing support for the State of Israel. Specifically, the resolution plainly stated that Israel is not a racist nation while unequivocally condemning antisemitism. The catalyst for this resolution was the recent remarks from Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who referred to Israel as “a racist state.” A follow-up statement from Rep. Jayapal sought more to clarify her remarks than apologize for the damage her words caused. And given that antisemitic incidents and attacks are on the rise across the country, the damage cannot be understated.

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The action and overall response to the resolution were swift and one-sided, with only nine Representatives voting against it. One of those dissenting votes included freshman Democrat Congresswoman Summer Lee of Pittsburgh, who has many constituents who are members of the Tree of Life Synagogue. I cannot express the amount of frustration I feel to see a Representative from Pennsylvania take an outwardly antisemitic vote, especially given the tragedy the Jewish community faced in the city of Pittsburgh just a few short years ago.

Pennsylvania has been a wonderful place to live for people of the Jewish faith for decades. It’s a place I called home for many years and where my great-grandfather, Sigmund Klein, immigrated in the late 1800s. Pennsylvania is also near and dear to me because I served in civic and community leadership positions for years, and I also ran for office here because I believed in the potential of the Commonwealth.

My belief in that potential persists. Last November, the people of Pennsylvania elected Josh Shapiro, a man of strong Jewish faith and community. I’m proud that he isn’t the first Jewish Governor in the state, and I’m confident he won’t be the last.

For the office of Governor, it is imperative to show leadership, even if the subject is difficult. In our current political climate, where the partisan divide is seemingly reaching record levels, elected officials showing courage to stand up to those in their own party has become increasingly rare.

While Governor Shapiro’s electoral victory last fall provided optimism for Jewish Pennsylvanians frustrated amid increasing antisemitism, his recent silence over Summer Lee’s actions gives reason for pause.

As a leader, a Governor, and a man of strong Jewish faith, it is imperative that he condemn the Congresswoman for her antisemitic vote and disassociate himself from her and the rest of “The Squad.” After all, Congresswoman Lee was not alone in her deeply disturbing vote; she was joined by other radicals in Congress. This includes known antisemitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who was removed from the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year for her past use of dangerous antisemitic tropes and rhetoric. Not exactly great company.

For some reason, silence remains the policy when Democrats face antisemitism in their own party. The Republican Party has taken a different approach to dealing with foul voices. It was not long ago that Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa was strongly rebuked and stripped of congressional committee assignments after making jaw-dropping bigoted remarks. Congressman King would eventually be ousted from office, as he was defeated in his next Republican primary. Many Jewish PACs and prominent Jewish Republican donors supported his primary opponent to make the point that King had no place in Congress.

Gov. Shapiro should stand up to the racist and antisemitic elements permeating the Democratic Party and not stay silent any longer.

The most notable example of political courage in standing up to your own party comes from Bill Clinton. He received well-deserved kudos when he rebuked Sister Souljah’s violent and racist rhetoric on the 1992 campaign trail.

So, the question remains: why hasn’t Governor Shapiro condemned Congresswoman Summer Lee? I suggest he does so sooner rather than later.

Surely the Governor wouldn’t want to still be politically attached to someone who hates a nation solely because of its Jewish background and history. More importantly, with his silence, Governor Shapiro further sets the stage for Congresswoman Summer Lee and others to take radical and dangerous stances.

Gov. Shapiro campaigned with Summer Lee in 2022, even though there were warning signs that Lee would be a loud opponent of Israel, a key American ally. Rep. Lee’s recent vote isn’t her first foray into antisemitism. Shapiro campaigned with her in Pittsburgh anyway. It’s not too late for the Governor to speak out and do the right thing.

Governor Shapiro, being the Governor of Pennsylvania and a Jew, should condemn Representative Summer Lee for her terrible vote against Israel and call on other Democrats to do the same.

Governor Shapiro should stand up to the racist and antisemitic elements permeating the Democratic Party and not stay silent any longer. He has a proven track record of speaking out against antisemitism and standing tall with the Jewish community in the Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania and the Jewish Community deserve nothing less. I think the Governor will do the right thing because I know he has an enormous amount of pride in being a Jew, and he agrees that antisemitism has no place in Pennsylvania. The time is always right to speak out against antisemitism, Governor.

Bryan E. Leib is the Executive Director of CASEPAC, the nation’s only federal PAC dedicated to combating antisemitism. He’s a former GOP Congressional Candidate and a native Philadelphian. He can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter at @BryanLeibFL.

3 thoughts on “Bryan E. Leib: Governor Shapiro should condemn Congresswoman Lee for anti-Israel votes”

    1. Yes she should!!!!!!! Stop the hate, Congresswoman. Your community deserves better. If you had any sense of morality, you should RESIGN!!! You’re clearly an embarrassment to Pennsylvania and to Pittsburgh!

  1. Congresswoman Lee and her ilk are one of the main reasons I support voter recall. The reason is that calls to resign, party discipline, and elector rejection does not stop the use of an elective office to spew hate. It is a sure-fire way to garner support among the crazies in society and, though despicable, is valuable to the party that such belongs to as it is one more vote in the quest for legislative power. In today’s world, unfortunately, antisemitism is in full bloom, because antisemites believe Jews are an easy target. What is amazing to me is that those who are most virulent antisemites, are themselves members of minority ethnicities and religions. Just to be clear, I am not Jewish, but I always remember that Jesus was born and lived as a Jew.

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