Friedman: Why can't antisemitism be rejected in halls of Congress?

In a tweet on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, “when bigotry of any kind rears its ugly head, it must be and often is condemned."

By
March 6, 2019 13:51
3 minute read.
David Friedman (L) and Ilhan Omar (R)

David Friedman (L) and Ilhan Omar (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman weighed in on the recent antisemitism controversy on Capitol Hill stirred up by Congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar's public remarks.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Friedman said that “when bigotry of any kind rears its ugly head, it must be and often is condemned." 

“Why isn’t antisemitism afforded the same treatment?” he questioned. “When, as now, antisemitism is front and center in the Halls of Congress, why can’t it be called out and rejected without qualification?”
Dems prep anti-Semitism measure amid Omar uproar, March 6, 2019 (Reuters)


The comments come after Omar (D-Minn.) was once again enveloped in antisemitic controversies because of several tweets she has posted over the last few months.

In Omar’s most recent remark, she claimed that domestic support for Israel amounts to “allegiance to a foreign country.”

She made the remarks during a town hall meeting in Washington last week, during which she said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” The comments were in reference to the pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

After being heavily criticized for the town hall meeting remarks, Omar tweeted, “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”

This was the third time in the last three months that Omar has made negative comments in reference to Israel.

Following her comments, US President Donald Trump slammed the congresswoman on Tuesday.


"Representative Ilhan Omar is again under fire for her terrible comments concerning Israel," Trump tweeted. "Jewish groups have just sent a petition to Speaker Pelosi asking her to remove Omar from Foreign Relations Committee. A dark day for Israel." 


In February, Omar was caught up in a major Twitter storm in which she accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of paying American politicians to support Israel.

Omar received heavy backlash for the comments and was accused of antisemitism as a result with leaders on both the Right and Left condemning her remarks. Even her own Democratic Party issued a statement that called Omar’s statements “deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks.”

Omar apologized for her statement.

“Antisemitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of antisemitic tropes,” she wrote. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry.”

Trump called the apology “lame” and said she should resign.

Just weeks prior to the comments, Omar defended her infamous tweet from 2012 in which she attacked Israel for how it “hypnotized the world.”

Following heavy backlash, she later said the tweet was “unfortunate and offensive.”

Jeremy Sharon and Seth J. Frantzman contributed to this report.

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