House Democrats to bring up resolution condemning anti-Semitic rhetoric
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks at a 'Progressive Town Hall' in Washington D.C. on February 27. (Laura Kelly)
The move comes as Rep. Omar’s ‘foreign allegiance’ comment stirs Congress
House Democrats, including the House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, are looking to devise and pass a resolution rejecting anti-Semitism, according to a senior congressional source, in response to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) recent use of an anti-Semitic slur which suggested that pro-Israel members of Congress may have “foreign allegiance.” The resolution is expected Wednesday.
The move would be a more concrete step in condemning the Minnesota congresswoman, although it’s unclear if Rep. Omar will be named in the resolution.
At least six Democrats were in communication over the weekend about drafting such a resolution, including Leader Hoyer (D-MD), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ); Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL); Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NJ); Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY); and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, an influential House body on which Rep. Omar sits.
“The idea that certain members of Congress seemingly believe it is acceptable to use historic anti-Semitic tropes accusing Jews of dual loyalty, despite the broad condemnation of the entire House Democratic Leadership, is beyond me,” Rep. Gottheimer wrote in an email to Jewish Insider. “This rhetoric is reminiscent of other hurtful episodes in our history, including when President John F. Kennedy’s loyalty was called into question simply because he was Irish Catholic. It is time for the House to act and reiterate that anti-Semitism, like all forms of hate, have no place in our public debate.”
As of yet, it’s unclear whether the group plans to seek Rep. Omar’s removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This morning, the Washington Free Beacon published a letter from Jewish groups to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeking Rep. Omar’s dismissal from the committee.
The resolution will explicitly address that charges of “dual loyalty” directed at Jews are anti-Semitic in nature and that such rhetoric has no place in congressional discourse.
Omar has yet to apologize for the statements, instead, she doubled down in response to criticism from colleagues, specifically to Rep. Lowey, writing on Twitter, “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”
On Monday, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi calling for a House resolution rejecting “[Omar’s] latest slur and make clear that no matter what may divide the 435 members of the House of Representatives, they are united in condemning anti-Semitism.
“We urge you and your colleagues to send the unambiguous message that the United States Congress is no place for hate.”
On Sunday, Rep. Nadler told Jewish Insider that Democratic leadership will “have to say something and do something” in response to Rep. Omar’s comments.
Laura Kelly is the Capitol Hill reporter at Jewish Insider. Follow her at @HelloLauraKelly
This story has been updated.