Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and two other Democratic House members released a statement on Thursday evening celebrating the passage of the resolution that ended up condemning hatred of all kinds instead of emphasizing anti-Semitism.
Omar (pictured above right), alongside Rep. Rasida Tlaib (D-Mich.), is one of two Muslim women serving in Congress. She’s also the first Somali-American in Congress.
The resolution, which overwhelming passed in the House, originally was supposed to condemn only anti-Semitism in response to Omar’s latest round of controversial comments. But Democrats caved — and broadened the resolution to include opposition to all forms of hatred and bigotry after some vocal progressives defended Omar and said she’d been unfairly singled out.
Omar, Tlaib and Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) — the second Muslim man elected to Congress — released a joint statement following the resolution’s passage on Thursday. The three focused on the condemnation of Islamophobia.
“Today is historic on many fronts. It’s the first time we have voted on a resolution condemning Anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation’s history,” the three Democrats said. “We are tremendously proud to be part of a body that has put forth a condemnation of all forms of bigotry including anti-Semitism, racism and white supremacy.”
“At a time when extremism is on the rise, we must explicitly denounce religious tolerance of all kinds and acknowledge the pain felt by all communities,” they added.
“Our nation is having a difficult conversation and we believe this is great progress.”
Our nation is having a difficult conversation, but we believe this is great progress. pic.twitter.com/gSua9a8mki
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) March 7, 2019
Omar has come under fire several times now for making comments widely viewed as anti-Semitic.
She tweeted in 2012 that “Israel has hypnotized the world” and urged Allah to “awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
Omar also faced accusations of using “anti-Semitic tropes” in February when she suggested on Twitter that money from pro-Israel lobbyists drove support for — and the defense of — Israel. She later apologized for those remarks.
But Omar also fielded bipartisan backlash for perceived anti-Semitic comments she made during an event in Washington, D.C., last week. She accused Jewish Americans of having an “allegiance to a foreign country.”
The congresswoman did not apologize that time. Instead, she defended her refusal to be “pro-Israel.”
Progressive Democrats such as Tlaib and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) backed Omar early on, and some 2020 Democratic presidential contenders also excused her troubling remarks.
Even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) largely sidestepped Omar’s latest controversial comments during a press conference on Thursday ahead of the vote.
“I do not believe that she understood the full weight of the words,” Pelosi (above left) argued. “And I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude, but that she didn’t have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people, where these words have a history and a cultural impact that may have been unknown to her.”
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) even issued a troubling defense of Omar when he told The Hill that her experiences as a refugee are more “powerful” and “personal” than the experiences of the descendants of Jewish Holocaust survivors.
“Her experience, Clyburn argued, is much more empirical — and powerful — than that of people who are generations removed from the Holocaust, Japanese internment camps during World War II and the other violent episodes that have marked history,” The Hill reported.
Clyburn told The Hill, “I’m serious about that. There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’ It’s more personal with her.”
After Omar’s progressive allies defended her, Democrats broadened the resolution and moved its vote to Thursday.
Some claimed that Pelosi and the Democratic Party gave in to the progressives and cheapened their condemnation of anti-Semitism by broadening the anti-hate resolution.
“An apology follows the normal laws — the wider you make it the shallower it gets,” tweeted David Wolpe, a rabbi in Los Angeles.
An apology follows the normal laws — the wider you make it the shallower it gets.
— David Wolpe (@RabbiWolpe) March 8, 2019
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