House Democratic leaders, led by Speaker Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, former Obama Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and Chelsea Clinton deserve credit for condemning the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel tweets by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) over the weekend that suggested politicians are being paid off to support Israel, specifically by AIPAC. This transparently anti-Semitic trope was too much for House Democratic leaders who had been ignoring such religious bigotry by Rep. Omar and two other newly elected Democratic House members, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Tlaib has called for a one-state solution that would destroy the state of Israel and made the notorious anti-Semitic “dual loyalties” charge against members of Congress who support Israel. Ocasio-Cortez has accused Israel of “occupying” Palestine and praised openly anti-Semitic UK Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The statement by House Democratic leaders stated:
“Anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned whenever it is encountered, without exception,” the statement said. “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.”
This was a difficult step for Pelosi and her leadership team since they knew it would infuriate the far-left of their party which is increasingly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. But Pelosi realizes that as much as she wants to tap into the energy of this wing of her party, Rep. Omar’s ugly tweets are a reminder of how far removed it is from the views of average Americans who regard Israel as one of America’s closest allies and reject anti-Semitism and other forms of religious bigotry.
In response to the controversy over her tweets, Rep. Omar claimed to “unequivocally apologize” but went on to “reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry.” Omar’s swipe at AIPAC in her apology led many to question the sincerity of her contrition.
House Republicans are calling on Speaker Pelosi to take further action against Omar for her history of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments by stripping her of her committee assignments, including her plum seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. At a minimum, I believe Pelosi must remove Rep. Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee and any other foreign policy, defense and homeland security committee because her hateful views will interfere with the work of these committees and do not represent the views of the American people. Pelosi put Omar on the Foreign Affairs Committee to energize her party’s Trump haters and to score points with the mainstream media which is enamored by newly-elected Reps. Omar and Tlaib. Speaker Pelosi must correct this mistake ASAP.