On Sunday night, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) took to Twitter to push classic anti-Semitic tropes that the GOP supported Israel because it’s “all about the Benjamins” and that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was paying politicians to support Israel. Now the Democratic House Leadership is condemning her, albeit not removing her from her committee assignment on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to which she was appointed last month.
“Anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned wherever it is encountered, without exception,” the statement read. “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.”
Then the statement went after Omar by name.
“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.”
“As Democrats and as Americans, the entire Congress must be fully engaged in denouncing and rejecting all forms of hatred, racism, prejudice and discrimination wherever they are encountered,” the statement concluded.
The statement was jointly issued by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján, Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, and Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark.
New: House Democratic Leadership statement on Rep. Ilhan Omar: pic.twitter.com/SjmUT4sGU3
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) February 11, 2019
Although the statement called for an apology, it did not remove Omar from her committee assignment.
Last month, after Rep. Steve King (R-IA) questioned the problem with white supremacists, Republican leadership quickly condemned him and removed him from all committee assignments.
Many other Democrats and Republicans have joined in condemning Omar over her remarks, including Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“Anti-Semitism in any form is unacceptable, and it’s shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trop of ‘Jewish money,’” Engel said in a statement. “I full expect that when we disagree on the Foreign Affairs Committee, we will debate policy on the merits and never question members’ motives or resort to personal attacks. Criticism of American policy toward any country is fair game, but this must be done on policy grounds.”
“As I have said, as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I will ensure support for israel remains strong and bipartisan and I will shine light on the evil of anti-Semitism and the danger is posses,” Engel added. “I will make the case to Members on both side of the aisle that our alliance and friendship with Israel are important to our countries’ shared interests, security, and values. This has always been the basis of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and it’s the reason why members on both sides have been strong supporters of that relationship.”
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) February 11, 2019
This is not the first time Omar has made anti-Semitic comments. In an interview last month, she suggested that Israel should not be allowed to exist as a Jewish state, The Daily Wire reported. And in November of 2012, she tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 16, 2012