Rep. Ilhan Omar was rebuked Friday by the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for making a “vile anti-Semitic slur” in her recent comments about politicians who support Israel.
New York Rep. Eliot Engel called for Omar, a fellow Minnesota Democrat, to apologize, Fox News reported.
“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 during a town hall Wednesday in reference to people supporting the nation of Israel, according to the Jewish Insider.
“I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or big pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying movement that is influencing policy,” she said.
Engel, who is Jewish, issued a statement in response to Omar’s comments.
“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 said.
“We all take the same oath. Worse, Representative Omar’s comments leveled that charge by invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur,” he continued.
“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.”
Last month, Omar implied that politicians’ support for Israel was driven by campaign donations from the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. House Democrats later issued a statement condemning her comments.
The comment also drew condemnation from former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
“To see this at the UN was a fight every day. This CANNOT be tolerated in our own Congress by anyone of either party. In a time of increased anti semitism, we all must be held to account. No excuses,” Haley tweeted.
The AIPAC also condemned Omar’s comments.
The charge of dual loyalty not only raises the ominous specter of classic anti-Semitism, but it is also deeply insulting to the millions upon millions of patriotic Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish, who stand by our democratic ally, Israel.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) March 1, 2019
After backlash from both sides of the aisle concerning her comments on the AIPAC, Omar issued an apology.
However, Omar’s recent comments continue “the unacceptable pattern of the Congresswoman deploying anti-Semitic rhetoric when speaking about Jewish-Americans’ involvement in our nation’s democratic process,” said Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, NBC reported.
Hunegs said that despite efforts to reach out to Omar, her rhetoric remains the same.
“Our community is exasperated by Rep. Omar’s unfulfilled promises to listen and learn from Jewish constituents while seemingly simultaneously finding another opportunity to make an anti-Semitic remark and insult our community,” he said.
— AJC (@AJCGlobal) March 1, 2019
On Wednesday, Omar fought back against the label of anti-Semitism used by her critics.
“What I’m fearful of (is) that a lot of our Jewish colleagues, a lot of our constituents, a lot of our allies, go to thinking that everything we say about Israel to be anti-Semitic because we are Muslim,” she said at the town hall. “But it’s almost as if, every single time we say something regardless of what it is we say … we get to be labeled something. And that ends the discussion.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.