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House Passes Anti-Hate Resolution Sparked by Ilhan Omar’s Antisemitism

The Associated Press
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
JOSHUA CAPLAN

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution condemning various forms of hate in response to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MD) latest anti-Jewish remarks, which sparked turmoil within the party.

The 407-23 vote was a bid to end dissension among Democrats over freshman congresswoman Omar’s latest remarks on Israel. House Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and nearly two dozen other Republicans in voting against the measure because it did not go far enough in condemning Omar.

Last week, appearing with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Omar claimed the Jewish state’s allies pressure lawmakers to pledge “allegiance” to a foreign country. Some members of Congress wanted the Minnesota Democrat implicitly rebuked with a measure condemning anti-Semitism. However, other lawmakers said the resolution should also condemn discrimination against Muslims and other minorities.

Earlier Thursday, House Democrats briefly postponed voting on the measure as lawmakers sought to add text by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to include anti-Latino hate, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said. Notably, the measure does not condemn discrimination against Christians.

Speaking before reporters today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refused to call on Omar to apologize, claiming the freshman congresswoman didn’t realize her controversial statements about Israel would be received as antisemitic.

Omar’s comment that a pledge of “allegiance” to the Jewish state is expected of lawmakers sparked enough outrage to split Democrats and throw their agenda into question. Some Democrats wanted a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, while others said that would have unfairly singled out the Minnesota Democrat. Of Omar, Pelosi said, “I do not believe she understood the full weight of her words. These words have a history and a cultural impact.”

Earlier this year, Omar apologized for a 2012 tweet in which she said Israel had “hypnotized” America. And last month, she apologized for suggesting that members of Congress support Israel because they are paid to do so.

That earned her stern rebukes from Pelosi and House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), among others. This time, Engel declared that Omar’s suggestion about divided loyalties was a “vile” stereotype that had no place on his committee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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