Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has made statements critics have called anti-Semitic and she’s believed to advance QAnon conspiracy theories. On Monday, she visited Jewish stores, a yeshiva and matzah bakery in Brooklyn, N.Y., as they prepared for Passover. Greene also met with a Holocaust survivor and her family.
Greene, who represents Georgia’s 14th district, was invited to the “educational visit,” by Chovevei Zion’s executive director Nachman Mostofsky, according to Nick Dyer, Greene’s communications director.
Chovevei Zion advocates on behalf of a segment of the Orthodox Jewish community on political issues and helps facilitate tours to Israel for politicians.
Greene was stripped of her committee assignments Feb. 4, partly because of comments some in the Jewish community have regarded as anti-Semitic.
An Atlanta rabbi who has served the Jewish community in Greene’s district said that he doubted her visit to Brooklyn would change his perspective.
Steven Lebow, rabbi emeritus of Temple Kol Emeth, regularly conducted services for Rodeph Shalom, a Rome synagogue that serves much of the Jewish community in North Western Georgia in her district.
Of the Brooklyn visit, Lebow said, “She can visit as many Jewish institutions as she wants, I will still have doubts about her open-mindedness.”
He further questioned, “Why won’t she reach out to people in her own district or people in Atlanta?”
Greene’s New York tour Monday was largely focused around the Orthodox community in Brooklyn, Mostofsky told the AJT.
“The idea of the day was to bring a member of Congress who had very little interaction with the Jewish community and specifically the more religious Jewish community.”
The visit began with a tour of a boys’ yeshiva in Brooklyn, where the congresswoman visited an eighth grade class and had a discussion with the rabbi as well a question and answer session with the students. The congresswoman and her team were accompanied by Mostofsky and Rabbi Yechezkel Moskowitz, president of Chovevei Zion and a former leader of the National Council of Young Israel who clashed in 2019 with what was then known as Young Israel of Toco Hills. The dispute led to the Atlanta synagogue breaking away from the national organization and changing its name.
— Newsmax (@newsmax) March 15, 2021
Mostofsky’s brother was among rioters who stormed the Capitol Jan. 6 and their father was a former president of the NCYI, according to online news sources.
Greene and entourage passed by Hatzalah ambulances, which interested the congresswoman. Hatzalah is believed the world’s largest volunteer ambulance service.
The New York tour included a visit to a Jewish grocery in the process of gearing up for Passover and the kosher Pizza Time, where Greene met with local Jewish residents.
Her visit to the pizza shop spread quickly on Facebook, enticing New Yorkers to come and meet her. While at the pizza shop, she met with a volunteer for the ambulance service and discussed the program, in addition to meeting with other community members.
Sam Beyda, a local resident, told the AJT he saw that Greene was at the pizza shop from a photo his brother sent, which has now been shared widely. Beyda went to the shop to meet the congresswoman. “I was surprised she was visiting the Jewish community, in Brooklyn of all places.” The conversation was “amicable,” and the congresswoman left shortly after to meet with a Holocaust survivor and four generations of the survivor’s family.
Dyer said, “Rep. Greene discussed the Holocaust survivor’s journey to America.” The Holocaust survivor voiced her concerns about illegal immigration, the current state of the country, and her worries for the future.
In an interview with the AJT, Mostofsky described the concerns the survivor expressed to Greene in their 30- to 35-minute meeting: “That the normalization of hate, and the normalization of othering, and the cancel culture was exactly what was happening in Germany.” The congresswoman has expressed similar sentiments, accusing those who have attacked her character as giving in to cancel culture.
Another highlight of Greene’s tour was visiting a matzah bakery preparing for Passover, Mostofsky said.
At the matzah manufacturing site, Greene was greeted by Israeli workers who recognized her and thanked her for her work, according to Mostofsky. “They recognized who she was and changed the music from Israeli music to the national anthem,” Mostofsky said. “That love of country came out to her.”
He said that Greene seemed interested in how the food was prepared. “She was astounded by it,” and asked, “‘you guys just eat this stuff for eight days?’”
The visit ended, largely, when she went to Newsmax for an interview before dinner with Mostofsky and Moskowitz.
Mostofsky said, “Everywhere we went, people that noticed her and knew she was a congresswoman and were told who she was, would say ‘thank you, keep up the good work, we are with you, we don’t believe any of this stuff that is being said about you.’”
Dyer said Greene “was greeted with rave reviews of how she fought for President [Donald] Trump and the values they share between the Orthodox community and her Christian faith.”
The larger issue of Greene’s accused anti-Semitism wasn’t ignored by Mostofsky. He said he has become friends with the congresswoman, regularly calling and messaging her, and has met with her multiple occasions during her short time in Congress. “She was never an anti-Semite,” Mostofsky said. “A member like Representative Green is a natural ally to our Jewish community.”
Some in the Jewish community, like Lebow, might disagree.