Lawmakers On Both Sides Of Aisle Express Dismay That Rep. Omar Has Thus Far Escaped Consequences For Israel Comments


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A House resolution condemning anti-Semitism and hate was overwhelmingly passed late Thursday, but critics say it’s still watered down.

The resolution says it is “condemning anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance…” and also “…condemning anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities.”

It was originally intended to rebuke Rep. Ilhan Omar, who’s made repeated comments that many consider anti-Semitic, including one last week.

“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” the Minnesota Democrat said at the time.

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Ilhan Omar

U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The comments have led to condemnation from both parties, including progressive Democrats.

“Let me be really clear: suggesting that support for Israel means you’re beholden to a foreign power is absolutely unacceptable and it’s illogical, too,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

But the House resolution also is expected to address racism, Islamophobia and oppression, and even references Japanese internment camps during World War II and the questioning of President John F. Kennedy’s loyalties because of his Catholicism.

“We are disappointed that the resolution does not address the specific violations and attacks by the congresswoman and that it is an omnibus bill in to which everything is thrown which dilutes its impact and significance,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it’s possible Omar’s comments were misinterpreted.

“I don’t think that the congresswoman perhaps appreciates the full weight of how it was heard by other people, although I don’t believe it was intended in any anti-Semitic way,” Pelosi said.

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“There are no excuses for the kind of comments when she made the first one and apologized and made the second one and apologized. It showed the apologies were not sincere, and we should be clear in addressing it as we would any other act of racism or bigotry in our country,” Hoenlein said.

Meanwhile, Republican critics said the traditional staunch Democratic support for Israel may be faltering.

“It’s frightening that the Democrat party can’t condemn this on its face. Once you allow this anti-Semitism to seep into your mindset and your party it can grow. You need to stop it at the outset,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said.

Two Long Island congressmen, Peter King (R-2nd) and Lee Zeldin (R-1st) joined 21 other Republicans who voted against the bill. Several said they wanted a stronger resolution more specific to Omar’s comments.

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