Bernie Sanders Defends Ilhan Omar in Antisemitism Crisis: 'Legitimate Criticism'

April FrancisMar 07, 2019

Democratic leaders are delaying a House vote on a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism as the party inserts additional language that'll denounce other forms of bigotry. And this time pro-Israel Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are not just warning her about the dangers of Jewish tropes. "Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it's inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!"

House Republicans and others want Pelosi to go even further and for Omar to be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee all because she questioned the lobbying efforts of a foreign nation. Democrats made a decision to add a provision also condemning anti-Muslim behavior, but it's not clear whether the measure will receive a floor vote.

"We've individually and collectively already responded to the fact that we oppose all '-isms' that do not treat people in this country fairly and justly", she said.

Pelosi's remarks come as Democrats pull back from their original plan to vote on a resolution implicitly rebuking Omar for saying lawmakers are under pressure to pledge "allegiance" to Israel. "As a member of Congress I should not get important information from cable news".

But other Democrats thought that the resolution should be passed.

House Republicans are criticizing Democratic leadership on Thursday for their handling of the ongoing accusations of anti-Semitism levied against Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

"We're still discussing it".

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Chamberlain added that if Democrats are serious about standing up to hate, they should do so with a resolution that "condemns antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-black racism, xenophobia, as well as the disgusting physical and verbal threats that Rep. Omar herself has faced in recent weeks". Many of her colleagues, including some on the Foreign Affairs Committee with her, have condemned her statements.

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of SC said he wants the resolution to be "anti-hate" to reject all forms of bigotry and prejudice. One person in the room quoted the speaker as saying the leaders had tried to increase communication so that members stay united and have "a clearer understanding of what our objective is as a caucus, how we proceed". The alternative is scarier, that they either agree with Omar on the merits or see enough support for her views among their own constituents that they feel obliged to try to defeat a resolution aimed at her.

For Democrats, the internal divide over how to handle Omar's statements has been exacerbated by members targeting each other on Twitter, where much of the public debate has played out - both among Democrats and between members of the two parties.

The Post reported that at one point during the meeting, Pelosi ally Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) pleaded: "Everyone stop tweeting!".

Sarsour was joined by some in Congress, such as anti-Semitic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and high-profile socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., who tweeted support for their embattled colleague.

When she was asked to clarify who is paying members, she cited AIPAC, which has previously boasted about its financial influence in United States politics. I think this is a time of testing for the House of Representatives.

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