- The House voted to condemn all forms of hatred and violence on Thursday in response to more controversial comments on Israel from Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
- The resolution makes note of Omar’s comments about loyalties to Israel, but does not mention her by name.
- First slated for a vote on Wednesday, Democrats postponed to add language reflecting condemnation of all forms of bigotry, in addition to anti-Semitism.
- Omar had previously apologised for comments and tweets that many of her fellow Democrats criticised as offensive to Jews.
The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to condemn all forms of bigotry after more comments from Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota about Israel sparked backlash from congressional allies of the Jewish state.
While the resolution does not mention Omar by name, it does point to anti-Semitic tropes made by the freshman Democrat, who has apologised for earlier comments criticising Israel and pro-Israel lobbying of Congress.
The final vote tally was 407-23-1.
In total, 23 lawmakers – all Republicans – voted against the resolution, including House republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney. Most of the “no” votes came from right-leaning conservative members. In addition, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa voted “present.”
Cheney explained her vote in a statement following the resolution’s passage.
“Today’s resolution vote was a sham put forward by Democrats to avoid condemning one of their own and denouncing vile anti-Semitism,” she said. “While I stand whole heartedly against discrimination outlined in this resolution, the language before the House today did not address the issue that is front and center.”
Initially, the resolution had been crafted by senior Democrats to just condemn anti-Semitism. But after backlash from some House Democrats and progressive groups who claimed it unfairly targeted Omar, leadership postponed the vote. Democrats crafted a new text of the resolution to reflect a wide condemnation of all hatred and bigotry.
After much debate, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer informed Democrats during the Thursday whip meeting they would finally be voting on the resolution, according to a senior Democratic aide.
The new resolution includes language to condemn all forms of hatred and intolerance, citing dozens of examples throughout American history, including the types of anti-Semitism associated Omar’s comments.
“Whereas all Americans, including Jews, Muslims, and Christians and people of all faiths and no faith, have a stake in fighting anti-Semitism, as all Americans have a stake in fighting every form of bigotry and hatred against people based on religion, race, or place of birth and origin,” the resolution reads.
While speaking on a panel at a Washington, DC bookstore event, Omar suggested allies of Israel are adhering to a dual loyalty with the Jewish state, a common anti-Semitic trope.
“So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is ok to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Omar said.
Omar’s comments also drew widespread condemnation from senior House Democrats.
“I welcome debate in Congress based on the merits of policy, but it’s unacceptable and deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow American citizens because of their political views, including support for the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel said in a statement. “We all take the same oath. Worse, Representative Omar’s comments leveled that charge by invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur.”
Omar had previously apologised for parroting anti-Semitic tropes, which drew condemnation from Republicans and Democrats alike.
Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have made a point of repeatedly calling on House Democratic leadership to remove her from her post on the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee. Trump also suggested Omar resign from Congress, calling her apology “lame.”
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