By Kathryn Blackhurst | March 6, 2019
President Donald Trump on Wednesday rebuked House Democrats for not taking “a stronger stand against” anti-Semitism as they continue to debate how to deal with the latest controversy caused by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
“It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against anti-Semitism in their conference,” Trump tweeted.
“Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 6, 2019
Omar is one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress and is the first Somali-American in Congress.
She made her latest round of perceived anti-Semitic comments during an event in Washington, D.C., last week.
“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Omar said in an apparent reference to Israel.
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“I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA [National Rifle Association], of fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma — and not talk about a powerful lobbying movement that is influencing policy,” Omar added.
House Democrats and Republicans alike denounced Omar’s remarks — and some demanded that she apologize.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who is Jewish and chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on which Omar sits, rebuked Omar and demanded an apology.
But Omar doubled down on Twitter on Monday, complaining, “I am told every day that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.”
I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 3, 2019
The president blasted the congresswoman on Twitter late Monday night.
He wrote, “Representative Ilhan Omar is again under fire for her terrible comments concerning Israel. Jewish groups have just sent a petition to Speaker Pelosi asking her to remove Omar from Foreign Relations Committee. A dark day for Israel!”
Representative Ilhan Omar is again under fire for her terrible comments concerning Israel. Jewish groups have just sent a petition to Speaker Pelosi asking her to remove Omar from Foreign Relations Committee. A dark day for Israel!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2019
House Democrats initially were preparing to vote on a resolution addressing Omar’s remarks on Wednesday.
But “tensions ran high” when Democrats met to discuss how directly to reprimand Omar — or whether to act at all, Politico reported.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reportedly insisted the “Democratic measure to condemn anti-Semitism is not final, though text had been circulating and a vote had been tentatively planned for Wednesday,” Politico reported.
House Democrats ultimately delayed the vote after Omar’s progressive peers protested and rallied around her.
Omar also fielded bipartisan backlash in February when she suggested on Twitter that money from pro-Israel lobbyists drove Republican support for — and the defense of — Israel.
She pointed specifically to the lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
At the time, House Democratic leaders released a statement condemning her remarks.
She ultimately apologized formally in a statement posted to Twitter, with the words, “Listening and learning, but standing strong.”
But Omar warned, “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”
Listening and learning, but standing strong 💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/7TSroSf8h1
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is among Omar’s most vocal defenders.
She ranted in a series of tweets on Tuesday.
“In this administration + all others, we should actively check antisemitism, anti-blackness, homophobia, racism, and all other forms of bigotry,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “And the most productive end goal when we see it is to educate and heal. It’s the difference btwn ‘calling in’ before ‘calling out.'”
“And don’t even get me started on misogyny. If we called resolutions on sexist statements, a good chunk of Congress would be gone. To jump to the nuclear option every time leaves no room for corrective action,” she added. “So I ask everyone that we practice calling in before calling out.”
And don’t even get me started on misogyny.
If we called resolutions on sexist statements, a good chunk of Congress would be gone.
To jump to the nuclear option every time leaves no room for corrective action.
So I ask *everyone* that we practice calling in before calling out.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
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This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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