House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is retreating from a proposed resolution that would specifically condemn anti-Semitism as Democrats in the House move to support Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Omar unleashed a firestorm of protests over her comments last week that pro-Israel lawmakers were, in fact, showing loyalty to a foreign government. Democratic Rep. Eliott Engel of New York called the comment “a vile anti-Semitic slur” and others followed.
In response, Pelosi drafted a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism. However, the resolution ran into a buzzsaw when Democrats gathered Wednesday in a closed-door session, Fox News reported.
Prior to the meeting, Pelosi said issues surrounding Omar and anti-Semitism “would be resolved.”
“I think you make more of it than there is … to be very honest with you,” she said, according to The Washington Post.
“The press loves to foment unease in the Democratic Party but we are very united.”
However, Fox News reported that the meeting grew so heated that she later walked out of it.
Members of the high-profile progressive wing of the party denounced a resolution that could be seen as condemning Omar.
“Islamophobia needs to be included,” freshman Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts said, The New York Times reported.
Pressley demanded “equity in our outrage,” and said, “We need to denounce all forms of hate. There is no hierarchy of hurt.”
Some Democrats said anything that appears to punish Omar is the wrong tactic.
“What would be the appropriate level of punishment — a public flogging?” said Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona.
“We are all responsible for what we say, and there are consequences, whether it is this resolution or something else,” Grijalva said. “But there is a double standard we have to be aware of. The level of condemnation on Ms. Omar has been really intense.”
Those watching the Democratic spat said that Democrats were giving themselves a public relations black eye.
“One would think it would be a lot simpler than it appears to be to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism,” said Mark Mellman, founder of the Democratic Majority for Israel, told CNN.
“We can’t be silent as Omar continues to say these things, because if we are silent, we’re complicit in what is completely unacceptable,” said Josh Block, head of the Israel Project, a nonpartisan pro-Israel group.
From the sidelines, President Donald Trump scolded Democrats for being unable to issue a simple condemnation.
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
‘‘It looks like the Democrats are doing a nice job of chewing themselves up,’’ Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said, according to The Associated Press.
“They should stop empowering her disgusting hatred before it turns into horror,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican who chairs the House Republican Conference chairwoman.
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