House Democratic Leadership Denounce Rep. Omar’s Comments On AIPAC

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Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement Monday after members of her own party pressured her to condemn anti-Semitic remarks made by a freshmen Democratic member of Congress who attacked a prominent Pro-Israel group.

“Anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned whenever it is encountered, without exception,” Pelosi and her leadership team stated.

They went on to say:

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.

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.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 15: U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar (D-MN)speaks to media outside the US Captiol on January 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. Members of the Freshman Class held a press conference on the government shutdown. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Two Jewish House Democrats were gathering signatures on a letter, The Washington Post reported, urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with her top leadership team to condemn what a growing number of members see as anti-Semitic remarks from two freshmen Muslim Democratic lawmakers. (RELATED: Omar Retweets Statement Equating Her Israel Comments With Calling Jews ‘Hook-Nosed’)

Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar anti-Israel remarks and actions over the past few weeks have caused more Democrats to speak out publicly against the two, The New York Times reported recently.

More recently, Omar faced criticism over her attack against the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a major pro-Israel organization. (RELATED: Rep. Omar Faces Backlash After Accusing Pro-Israel Lobbying Group Of Buying Support)

Prior the Democratic leadership’s condemnation of Omar’s remarks, New Jersey Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer and Virginia Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria urged Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James Clyburn, Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Lujan, and Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries in a letter to call out members who espouse anti-semitic stances.

The letter reads:

As Jewish Members of Congress, we are deeply alarmed by recent rhetoric from certain members within our Caucus, including just last night, that has disparaged us and called into question our loyalty to our nation. We urge you to join us in calling on each member of our Caucus to unite against antiSemitism and hateful tropes and stereotypes.

The letter later goes on to say:

In recent weeks, we have had conversations with multiple members of our Caucus who share our concerns about this rhetoric; we have also raised these concerns with Democratic leadership. We must speak out when any Member – Democrat or Republican – uses harmful tropes and stereotypes, levels accusations of dual loyalty, or makes reckless statements like those yesterday. All Members of Congress should reject anti-Semitism, just as we reject all forms of hatred, bigotry, and intolerance, and must denounce those who deny Israel’s right to exist, including terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.

Gottheimer and Luria also want to establish that the Democrat Party is pro-Israel, referencing the Party’s 1944 platform that included “the language supporting ‘a free and democratic Jewish commonwealth’ in the region, four years before President Harry S. Truman recognized the establishment of the modern State of Israel.” (RELATED: Lieberman Hopes Former Colleagues Talk To New Members With Anti-Israel Views)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (L) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (C) join their fellow House Democratic women for a portrait in front of the U.S. Capitol January 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (L) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (C) join their fellow House Democratic women for a portrait in front of the U.S. Capitol January 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

However, Luria and Gottheimer point to the recent support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is “anti-Semitic.”

“We cannot remain silent in the face of hateful speech or actions,” Gottheimer and Luria write, calling the rhetoric from Omar and Tlaib “unacceptable.”

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