House Democrats are considering a vote on a resolution that condemns anti-Semitism in response to comments made by Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) that criticize United States-Israel relations. The vote could come as early as Wednesday (March 6), per NPR.
The resolution stems from an exchange that occured on social media between Omar and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who promised to “take action” against Omar and Palestinian-American Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for being critics of Israel. Omar responded by questioning the power of pro-Israel lobbying groups, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the large sums of money they give to influence policies and members of Congress. Democratic leaders immediately put out a statement that condemned Omar’s remarks as anti-Semitic and pushed her to apologize, which she did shortly after.
But the condemnation resurfaced after a progressive town hall was held in Washington, D.C., with Omar, Tlaib and Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.). At the event, Omar, responding to a question on anti-Semitism, said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
Those remarks came under immense scrutiny from top Democrats, such as House Committee on Foreign Affairs chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who called Omar’s statement a “vile anti-Semitic” slur. Although Omar is not named directly in the drafted resolution, the document condemns “dual loyalty,” a term that Democratic leaders and the Anti-Defamation League have used to describe the representative.
At the town hall, Omar, who is the country’s first Somali congressperson, also addressed the assassination threats, racist vitriol and hate accusations she’s received in response to her criticism of what an agency of the United Nations calls Israel’s “apartheid regime” on the Palestinian people. “What people are afraid of is not that there are two Muslims in Congress,” Omar said, per The Nation. “What people are afraid of is that there are two Muslims in Congress that have their eyes wide open, that have their feet to the ground, that know what they’re talking about, that are fearless and that understand that they have the same election certificate as everyone else in Congress.”
The latest controversy occured shortly after Omar experienced an Islamophobic attack in West Virginia’s State House, where a poster was put on a display at a Republican event that linked her to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Several activists, Palestinian rights advocates and progressive Jewish organizations voiced their support of Omar, whom many say is being unfairly targeted for being a Black Muslim immigrant woman and supporter of the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. IfNotNow, a movement led by young Jews to end Israeli occupation of the West Bank, created a petition calling on House Democratic leadership to withdraw the resolution and condemn White nationalism, instead of Omar. Jewish Voice for Peace, a grassroots organization for Palestinian rights, has also launched an #IStandWithIlhan campaign, with support from Angela Davis, Harry Belafonte and several racial justice groups.
Below, some tweeted messages of solidarity with Omar:
A few weeks ago, @Ilhan became the target of a bad-faith smear campaign after she called attention to AIPAC’s influence on American politics. In response, hundreds of people contributed to #IStandWithIlhan, JVP’s public campaign in support of her. Thanks all! #standwithilhan pic.twitter.com/nQi8JBqKfu— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) March 1, 2019
OPAL AYO TOMETI ?? (@opalayo) March 5, 2019
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (@USCPR_) March 4, 2019
Democrats are literally putting a target on Ilhan’s back. The anti-blackness and Islamophobia she’s dealing with from her own party keeps proving her point. And they are risking her life. https://t.co/iEV9vwP1Kw— Your Woke Aunty (@YasminYonis) March 5, 2019
I am so disgusted by my fellow Jews for these attacks on Rep. Omar. That our government is spending time condemning her for speaking truth while Black people are being systemically killed by police and white nationalism is on the rise is beyond disgraceful. #IStandWithIlhan— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) March 5, 2019
Marco Rubio posted a disgusting Tweet of Gaddafi being brutally murdered as a threat to Maduro, John Cornyn quoted Benito Mussolini, but Dems are more worried about Ilhan Omar saying the truth about lobbyists? #IStandWithIlhan https://t.co/k185F0R1Gj— Mexican Rug Dealer (@dealer_rug) March 4, 2019
Let’s not forget UN’s independent inquiry stating Israel “intentionally shot” at Palestinian demonstrators (men, women, children, journalists, paramedics, etc) during the #GreatReturnMarch who posed no threat. Where are the Dems on this? https://t.co/ryCNNZB3Pe pic.twitter.com/uVk5NTd01n— About Face: Veterans Against the War (@VetsAboutFace) March 4, 2019
Here it is–the efforts to silence @Ilhan show the whole world what happens when you speak up for Palestine. Add to that the fact that Ilhan’s Muslim, Black, a woman, and a refugee. We won’t let her be silenced, we’ve got her back #IStandWithIlhan— Khury (@kpYES) March 4, 2019
The ongoing attempts to smear @IlhanMN not only allow for the US political establishment to perpetuate anti-Blackness & Islamophobia, but also prevent us from actually discussing Palestine, & the US’s role in occupation and apartheid there. #StandWithIlhanhttps://t.co/GeN3upFHDD— CODEPINK (@codepink) March 4, 2019
What happens to Ilhan Omar of course matters deeply but no matter what comes next in her political career, she has done a magnificent job of putting the establishment’s stance on compulsory allegiance to Israel on full display. The more they deny it, the more it shows.— Chanda Prescod-Weinstein ??♀️ ??? (@IBJIYONGI) March 4, 2019