Will anti-Semitism divide Democrats? It already has

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, speaks during a news conference to introduce H.R. 4 Voting Rights Advancement Act on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Tuesday Feb. 26 2019

US House Democrats Struggling over Rebuke to Lawmaker for Israel Comments

Omar (D-Minnesota) has been a longtime opponent of the Israeli government, accusing it of "evil doings" in a 2012 tweet, then suggested recently that there is "political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country", a reference to the powerful Israel lobby.

"I don't think our colleague is anti-Semitic", Pelosi said Friday, reiterating her previous defenses of Omar.

The resolution, which passed 407-23, was publically panned by several Republicans, including House Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined Reps.


After the vote, Omar avoided reporters, but issued a statement with three other Muslim lawmakers, Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich: "It's the first time we have voted on a resolution condemning Anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation's history", the three Democrats said.

The flap over Omar's comments exposed differences in the Democratic caucus, with younger, more liberal Democrats more willing to criticize Israel. "The whole episode from the perspective of the Democrats was an absolute disgrace, and they have become a party that is now enabling and abiding by anti-Semitism, and that is extremely risky". "Our nation is having a hard conversation".

Every Democrat, including Omar, voted for it and all opposed to the resolution are Republican.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she did not believe Omar's remarks were meant to be anti-Semitic. The Anti-Defamation League said it was "pleased the House of Representatives took a firm stance against anti-Semitism, including making an explicit statement rejecting the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and other vile slurs that have been used to persecute Jews for centuries".

Trump proclaims himself as Israel's closest ally, having moved the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and forged a close alliance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She sounded a lot like New York Times foreign policy expert Tom Friedman, who coincidentally grew up in Omar's district.

And his closing 2016 campaign ad contained alarming messaging, with images of prominent financial figures George Soros and Janet Yellen, both Jewish, as Trump speaks of "those who control the levers of power in Washington".


"We only wish the president had learned from this resolution, which defines anti-Semitism to include anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories that he has repeatedly invoked himself", Soifer wrote.

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