Muslim Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar calls Israel ‘apartheid regime’, July 10, 2018..
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/LORIE SHAULL)
US congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a famed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) supporter, apologized after pointing an accusatory finger at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), saying the organization is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel.
Democratic House lawmakers and former government officials are characterizing recent comments from one of their rising stars, Omar of Minnesota, as antisemitic.
The exceptional rebuke comes after Omar, a freshman member of Congress, suggested on Twitter that her colleagues have been paid off to support Israel.
Republicans pounced on her comments and called for Democratic leadership in the House to allow for censure vote of Omar, who, along with Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, is one of the first two female Muslim lawmakers to secure seats in Congress. Both members support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement of Israel and deny the nation’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
Democratic leadership said they condemned the remarks, in a statement released by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.
“Anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned whenever it is encountered, without exception," they said. "“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.”
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."
The statement released by Pelosi's office was issued on her behalf, along with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján, Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark.
Several prominent Democratic figures – including Jewish members of the House caucus – have condemned her, and called for a nonpartisan response to the use of classic antisemitic tropes.
Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Elaine Luria of Virginia are encouraging fellow members to sign onto a letter that would amount to a veiled rebuke of Omar short of a censure on the House floor. And Max Rose and Jerry Nadler, both of New York, expressed on Monday personal disgust with her remarks.
Tamar Beeri and Michael Wilner contributed to this report.