Ilhan Omar is in the hot seat again for making anti-Semitic comments. Earlier this year, Omar apologized for a tweet she wrote in 2012 in which she stated that Israel had “hypnotized” America. Despite the fact that she had already apologized for making such statements, she came back in February of this year and suggested that the members of Congress only supported Israel because they were being paid to do so. Omar also stated that Isreal’s supporters are forcing U.S. lawmakers to pledge “allegiance to a foreign country.”
She certainly didn’t learn her lesson because her most recent comment has earned her quite a bit of criticism from Nancy Pelosi, House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, and other members on the committee. And this time she’s not apologizing for her lack of character. Eliot Engel has said: “I welcome debate in Congress based on the merits of policy, but it’s unacceptable and deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow American citizens because of their political views, including support for the U.S.-Israel relationship.” He continued by saying that “Her comments were outrageous and deeply hurtful, and I ask that she retract them, apologize, and commit to making her case on policy issues without resorting to attacks that have no place in the Foreign Affairs Committee or the House of Representatives.”
This time, Pelosi and Eliot aren’t just being told to warn Omar about using anti-Semitic rhetoric, they’re being expected to provide a resolution that condemns anti-Semitism on the House Floor. Democrats haven’t scheduled a vote on the resolution as of yet, but Democrats are expecting it to be voted on as soon as Thursday.
Parts of the early draft of the resolution read: “Accusations of dual loyalty generally have an insidious, bigoted history. The House of Representatives acknowledges the dangerous consequences of perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes and rejects anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”
A part of the issue of drawing up the resolution is that many Democrats don’t believe that they need to pass a resolution that specifically condemns anti-Semitism. The House Democrats spent all day Wednesday attempting to come up with a resolution, but ultimately, no one was pleased with it.
The initial resolution distinctly condemned the use of anti-Semitic language, but the leaders in the Democratic Caucus apparently changed their course to include the condemnation of “all hate.” Now, politicians from every background are either coming forward to speak in defense of Omar or to speak out against her. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi explained to reporters on Wednesday that she didn’t believe that Omar was “intentionally” being anti-Semitic when she stated that Americans that were pro-Israel have dual loyalty.
On Wednesday, President Donald publicly condemned anti-Semitism in a social media post. He wrote: “It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference. Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the 2020 presidential candidates, came to Omar’s defense on Wednesday. “Anti-Semitism is a hateful and dangerous ideology which must be vigorously opposed in the United States and around the world. We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel. Rather, we must develop an even-handed Middle East policy which brings Israelis and Palestinians together for lasting peace,” said Sanders. “What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate. That’s wrong,” concluded the presidential candidate.
2020 Democrat presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, also had a few things to say in defense of Omar. In a statement made on Wednesday, Warren said: “We have a moral duty to combat hateful ideologies in our own country and around the world — and that includes both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. In a democracy, we can and should have an open, respectful debate about the Middle East that focus on policy. Branding criticism of Israel as automatically anti-Semitic has a chilling effect on our public discourse and makes it harder to achieve a peaceful solution between Israelis and Palestinians.” She concluded her statement by saying that “threats of violence” made against Omar are absolutely unacceptable no matter what the circumstances are.
Early Wednesday, Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris came forward to say that even though Congress has the responsibility to speak out against bigotry if the resolution condemns Omar, it could put her in harm’s way. “We all have a responsibility to speak out against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and all forms of hatred and bigotry. But like some of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk,” said Harris.