The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU) criticized U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D-Ill.) “pejorative” use of the word “Orthodox” in remarks at the annual conference of the left-wing J Street lobby on Monday, and welcomed the lawmaker’s subsequent apology.
Schakowsky had thanked J Street for supporting her in an election campaign against Joel Pollak, who is currently the senior editor-at-large for Breitbart News. The Illinois congresswoman said in videotaped comments, “In 2010, I had an election… an election within our community. That is, I ran against a Jewish-Orthodox, Tea Party Republican (Pollak) who made it very clear that actually Jan Schakowsky was anti-Israel because of the positions that she took. J Street came to my rescue.”
On Tuesday, OU Executive Director for Public Policy Nathan Diament said, “Bias and prejudice have no place in our American political discourse. In the context of her remarks and speaking to such an audience, the Congresswoman’s use of the term ‘Orthodox’ was a negative term-as negative for that [J Street] audience as Tea Party and Republican. This morning, upon learning about her remarks, we spoke with Rep. Schakowsky and conveyed how offended we were by the apparent intent of her remarks. We appreciate the unequivocal apology issued by Representative Schakowsky in response to our concerns. We hope such an incident will not occur again.”