Democratic Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky addressed Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s comments on Jews and Israel by in part explaining that she’s a refugee and “comes from a different culture.”
“I want to tell you, part of being a Jew is to be welcoming to the stranger,” Schakowsky told MSNBC Thursday. “And I want to tell you, Ilhan Omar is a refugee from Somalia. She comes from a different culture. She has things to learn.”
Schakowsky admitted that Omar had become a source of division in the party and that she had urged her Democratic caucus colleagues to “stop tweeting” about Omar’s contentious comments that have included references to Israel “hypnotizing the world” and buying off members of Congress who have allegiance to another country. (RELATED: David Dukes Calls Ilhan Omar ‘The Most Important’ Member Of Congress)
Schakowsky’s comments came as House Democrats backed away from a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and instead pushed one that reprimanded hate speech against any identifiable group — with the exception of Christians.
The congresswoman suggested the contention surrounding Omar’s comments was a distraction from the real work that Democrats are achieving in the House on issues like the environment and gun control.
“The press … likes to exploit these kinds of heightened, more sexy kind of battles,” she insisted.
“This is not a conversation that we ought to have on social media and in the public,” she said, as she expressed hope that Thursday’s resolution is one that “puts this to bed, that says, yes, as a Jew, anti-Semitism is a huge deal.” (RELATED: Rep. Ilhan Omar Travelled With Pro-Communist Anti-American Peace Group)
Schakowsky insisted “Islamophobia is also a huge problem,” and said that “Ilhan Omar is under tremendous attack, death threats. I think maybe she needs some security. And why? Because I think, in part, the Republicans and the media have blown this up to be much more than it is.”
Schakowsky said she had received an apology from Omar, “not only … for the words that she has used, but she apologized personally to me as a Jew.”
Omar has yet to firmly apologize publicly, specifically to other Jews in America.