California's upcoming primary elections could deliver Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) an unlikely foreign policy ally—Republican Greg Raths, who last week said the "Jewish community" uses money to "control" U.S. politicians.
Raths's anti-Semitic rant came during a May 20 Orange County Islamic Foundation candidate forum, which saw the Republican claim that U.S. support for Israel is bought and paid for by the "Jewish community." Raths, who is running against Republican congresswoman Young Kim in California's 40th Congressional District, also called to "rein in" U.S. foreign aid to Israel, a position he said he is able to support because he hasn't taken "one dime" from Jewish sources.
"That's the problem. Israeli PAC in Washington, they got money and they control a lot of these politicians. And the other side, the Palestinians, they don't have the clout. So these politicians go where the money is, unfortunately," Raths said. "The Jewish community is very well organized in the United States and they control a lot of politicians. That's why the foreign aid is so large going to Israel. … The Jewish community has never given me one dime, so I'm not beholden to them at all."
Raths's comments echo those of Omar, who in 2019 said U.S. support for Israel is "all about the Benjamins baby," a reference to $100 bills bearing Benjamin Franklin's face. The far-left congresswoman's remark prompted swift condemnation from many of her Democratic colleagues—former New York representative Max Rose, for example, said Omar invoked "hurtful stereotypes and caricatures of Jewish people to dismiss those who support Israel." Republican Jewish Coalition national political director Sam Markstein similarly rebuked Raths, calling his remarks "blatantly anti-Semitic."
"Both Mr. Raths and Ilhan Omar now share the distinct dishonor of suggesting that Jewish Americans buy political influence—a well-known, age-old anti-Semitic stereotype," Markstein told the Washington Free Beacon. "It is disgusting, appalling, and has absolutely no place in the GOP."
Raths did not respond to a request for comment. His decision to appear at the candidate forum is a curious one for a Republican congressional hopeful. The Orange County Islamic Foundation's leader, Sheikh Tarik Ata, has called Israel a "Nazi-like, apartheid, racist, aggressive, tyrannical, vicious, child-killing Zionist entity." Raths's campaign site says the California Republican will "support Israel."
In addition to his call to reduce U.S. aid to Israel, Raths also endorsed sending American aid dollars to the Palestinian Authority, a policy the Biden administration resumed in 2021. During that year, the United States sent the Palestinian Authority more than $360 million even as it funnels hundreds of millions to terrorists and their families. The Trump administration terminated U.S. aid to the Palestinians over those terror payments, which are part of the Palestinian Authority's "pay-to-slay" program.
"If we help one country, we should help the other, because each country needs to protect itself," Raths said of Israel and the Palestinian Authority at last week's forum.
Raths's campaign against Kim is not his first congressional run. The Republican lost to Rep. Katie Porter (D., Calif.) by 7 points in 2020 after he failed to advance from two primary elections in Porter's district in 2014 and 2016. Raths has raised $136,000 to Kim's $4.8 million.
Raths's full remarks at the Orange County Islamic Foundation forum can be viewed below: