It’s getting harder and harder for Democrats to ignore or defend Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) blatant anti-Semitism.
On Friday, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), who is Jewish and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released a statement condemning Omar’s recent comments suggesting those that defend Israel have an “allegiance to a foreign country.” Engel requested Omar apologize for her “vile” remarks.
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. We all take the same oath. Worse, Representative Omar’s comments leveled that charge by invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur. This episode is especially disappointing following so closely on another instance of Ms. Omar seeming to invoke an anti-Semitic stereotype. 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.
Politico’s Andrew Desiderio posted the statement on Twitter and included much of the statement in an article for Politico.
Omar’s latest remarks came during an event at the Busboys and Poets restaurant in Washington, D.C.
“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Omar said, according to New York Magazine. Omar also reportedly claimed that “Jewish colleagues” were trying to silence her.
Earlier this month, Omar’s anti-Semitism became so widely criticized that top Democrats had to start speaking out against her. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) joined other Democrats in denouncing Omar’s tweets espousing Jewish conspiracy theories.
“Anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned wherever it is encountered, without exception,” a statement from Democrat House leadership 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.”
The statement was in response to a series of now-deleted tweets from Omar suggesting Republicans only support Israel because of the money from Jews and Jewish organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She also retweeted a Politico editor who said her anti-Semitic tweets “might as well call us hook-nosed,” although she quickly realized her error and removed her retweet.
Those tweets were not Omar’s first anti-Semitic controversy. The freshman congresswoman has also tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world” and asked Allah to “awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” claimed Israel was an “apartheid” nation, and has shown time and time again that she does not care that she is being offensive.