After being called out by GOP leader McCarthy, Speaker Pelosi has finally condemned Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic comments and tweets.
However, many see Omar’s half hearted apology as not enough, and want the Minnesota Democrat removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Fox News reported that Omar apologized Monday for comments in which she implied that a prominent pro-Israel lobby compensated lawmakers for their support of the Jewish state, but insisted on what she called “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics.”
“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”
However, Republicans are still pushing to have the newly-elected Rep to be removed from the foreign affairs committee.
Good that some Dems have condemned the disgraceful anti-Semitic remarks of Rep. Omar—but their words are empty unless Dem leaders remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee. No one with her anti-Semitic views should be allowed to represent US foreign policy on that committee.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) February 11, 2019
Democrat Ilhan Omar has called Israel “evil,” compared Israel to Iran, continues to push anti-Semitic tropes, and supports the anti-Semitic BDS movement to boycott Israel.
Nancy Pelosi was wrong to elevate her to the Foreign Affairs Committee.Loading...
Now Pelosi should remove her.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) February 11, 2019
Rep. Ilhan Omar “apologized” for her anti-Semitic comments, then reaffirmed what she was apologizing for.
So in other words, she didn’t apologize. She should be removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
— Alana Mastrangelo (@ARmastrangelo) February 11, 2019
Muslims are calling for anti-Semitic Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be removed from all her committee assignments for her hateful bigotry: https://t.co/eZp8D2SOzH
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 11, 2019
The House Democrat Leadership issued a statement Monday afternoon condemning Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN), calling her anti-Semitic comments “deeply offensive” and urging the freshman lawmaker to immediately apologize for her “hurtful comments.”
“We are and will always be strong supporters of Israel in Congress because we understand that our support is based on shared values and strategic interests. Legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share,” the top House Democrats said in a joint statement. “But Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 11, 2019
Omar serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The statement from Pelosi et. al. does not make any mention of potential actions regarding her committee assignments. Omar, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, drew stern rebukes from Republicans and fellow Democrats Monday after suggesting U.S. support for Israel is fueled by money from the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.
The Minnesota freshman has faced criticism for weeks over her positions on the Jewish state, but it boiled over late Sunday after she reacted to statements by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in a tweet.
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar replied, referring to American $100 bills featuring the likeness of Benjamin Franklin.
When a user asked who Omar believes is paying US politicians to support Israel, the former Somali refugee tweeted a one-word response: “AIPAC!”
The exchanges triggered an uproar. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee of which Omar is a member, said: “Anti-Semitism in any form is unacceptable, and it’s shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money.’”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) urged Democrat leaders to “condemn this anti-Semitism” and remove Omar from the committee.
Two Democrat lawmakers circulated a letter addressed to Democrat leaders, including Pelosi, urging them to take “swift action” against anti-Semitic language by members. The letter’s authors, Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Elaine Luria (D-VA), who are both Jewish, did not mention Omar by name, but the target of their anger was clear.
“We must speak out when any Member — Democrat or Republican –- uses harmful tropes and stereotypes, levels accusations of dual loyalty, or makes reckless statements like those yesterday,” they wrote.
Omar has been critical of Israel’s government over its treatment of Palestinians. She has supported the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement which aims to put economic and political pressure on Israel.
Omar and fellow Muslim congressional freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) support for the boycott has opened a breach in the Democratic Party and threatens to create a fissure in the ironclad U.S.-Israeli alliance.
At least a dozen lawmakers have openly criticized Omar, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), the first Jewish congresswoman elected from Florida.
Omar’s “tweets implying that American support for Israel is driven by money, rather than shared interests and values, are alarming, offensive and disturbing,” Wasserman Schultz said.