Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Top Democrat demands another apology from Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar is facing more accusations of making anti-Semitic remarks, with a senior member of her party rebuking for words that he said conjured anti-Semitic.

Eliot Engel chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has demanded an apology over comments Omar made Wednesday, less than a month after she was condemned by bipartisan leadership for suggesting that pro-Israel lobbying groups and Jewish politicians influence American politics.

Her latest comments came during a town hall in Washington while speaking about liberal issues. “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,” Omar said.

In a statement Friday, Eliot said he welcomed debate in Congress but that it was “unacceptable and deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow American citizens because of their political views, including support for the US-Israel relationship.”

“Her comments were outrageous and deeply hurtful, and I ask that she retract them, apologize, and commit to making her case on policy issues without resorting to attacks that have no place in the Foreign Affairs Committee or the House of Representatives,” he said.
Omar’s spokesman, Jeremy Slevin, told the Associated Press on Friday that the congresswoman expressed remorse about her comments in February but that “we must distinguish between criticism of a particular faith and fair critiques of lobbying groups.”

Just as earlier this month the congresswoman “only meant to target the pro-Israel lobby,” he said.

“We need to make sure — on both sides — that everyone is being very careful,” she said. “I see it on both sides. I see too much hatred, period.”

Dingell also condemned the anti-Muslim poster that surfaced Friday during a Republican event in the West Virginia Capitol. The poster, which Democrats have called racist and Islamophobic, linked Omar to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, denounced discrimination of both faiths Sunday, writing on Twitter: “I am appalled by @IlhanMN’s #antiSemitic comments, but that does not diminish my revulsion at this poster. It’s a smear, not only against her but also against the entire Muslim-American community. I call on people of all faiths to join me in condemning it.”

In February, more than 20 House Democrats demanded an apology from Omar after she suggested (again, on Twitter) that Israel’s allies in Congress were motivated by money instead of principle. Trump called for Omar to resign from Congress or give up her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and bipartisan leadership issued a joint statement insisting on an apology for her “use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters.”

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