By Sandy Eller
Community leaders representing the full spectrum of the Flatbush community took part in a meeting arranged by the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition recently at the Ohel building with freshman congressman Max Rose, who represents Staten Island and parts of Southern Brooklyn.
FJCC chairman Josh Mehlman welcomed Rose, a decorated war veteran who fought in Afghanistan and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, noting that he was the first Democrat to denounce Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her antisemitic rhetoric. Rose was formally introduced by FJCC co-founder Chaskel Bennett, who read aloud several of Rose’s most recent pro-Israel statements and implored him to continue standing up against hatred and bigotry without fear of the political consequences. “When you speak the hard truth, thousands of us stand solidly behind you” Bennett thundered.
Rose spoke passionately about his unwavering support for Israel and his strong opposition to the BDS movement. Referencing Omar’s allegations that Jewish-Americans have dual loyalties, Rose a Jewish war veteran, noted that he was appalled by the suggestion that his personal allegiance to America was being called into question. With the meeting taking place just days after a congressional resolution to denounce antisemitism turned into a resolution that many feel was watered down to include bigotry in all forms, Rose’s remarks resonated deeply with participants.
“The meeting was sobering and timely,” said Bennett. “Congressman Rose clearly and publicly shared our collective pain and outrage and I would hope that every member of Congress with a Jewish constituency would be doing the same, to see and hear the fear and dismay that Jewish Americans are currently experiencing.”
FJCC Executive Board member Rafi Treitel said that participants were impressed with Rose’s command of the issues and shared concerns. “In light of current events, we appreciate his perspective on opposing antisemitism and his support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship,” said Treitel.
Mehlman concluded, “We call upon all of our elected officials to take tangible action because hatred has no place in the United States.”