House Dem Leaders: Omar Should 'Immediately Apologize' for 'Tropes'

Erika Holt
February 12, 2019

USA congresswoman Ilhan Omar tweeted out an apology on Monday, after posts she had written a day earlier were condemned as anti-Semitic.

And though he did not name Omar, he left little doubt that his statement was a response to her tweets.

Journalist Batya Ungar-Sargon swiftly reacted, wondering who Omar thinks "is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel", and accused her of making an "anti-Semitic trope".

In a follow-up tweet, the freshman congresswoman said she was referencing the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful pro-Israel lobbying organization.

"I unequivocally apologize", Omar said.

"At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics", she said via twitter.

"Rep. Omar's tweet yesterday went too far".

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said Omar should be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

On Monday, House Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, lent their voices to a bipartisan backlash against Omar's remarks, which they call anti-Semitic.

Omar is one of a handful of high-profile freshmen Democratic women, along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY and Rashida Tlaib of MI, who often use social media to speak to their followers and lash out at criticism.

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The comments received swift condemnation from members of congress on both sides of the aisle, including from Pelosi, the ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. And Max Rose and Jerry Nadler, both of NY, expressed on Monday personal disgust with her remarks.

"I'm one of those American Jews who opposes the occupation, laments Israel's anti-democratic drift, and doesn't regard the country as especially central to my Jewish identity", Politico magazine editor Joshua Zeitz tweeted.

Omar has yet to respond to the American Jewish Committee's request.

Daniel Shapiro, former US ambassador to Israel under former president Barack Obama, added that Omar's "outrageous comments equating politicians' support for Israel with being bought off by American Jewish money are a vile anti-Semitic trope".

Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) wrote in a statement that "Omar's statements are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself". "I'm going to support Israel and the Jewish people".

"It's now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy in disavowing the anti-Semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive", she tweeted last month. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of NY condemned Omar's tweets Monday morning. The Republicans recently punished one their own, Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King, for comments questioning when language like "white supremacist" became offensive.

Elaine Luria of Virginia and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey on Monday published a letter urging House leaders to "unite against anti-Semitism and hateful tropes and stereotypes".

"Accurately describing how the Israel lobby works is not anti-semitism", Ashley Feinberg, a HuffPost reporter, wrote in another tweet that was shared by Omar.

Omar doesn't seem to miss an opportunity to criticize the Jewish people and Israel.

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