In a resolution passed Thursday originally meant to rebuke Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for anti-Semitic remarks, House Democrats omitted the congresswoman’s name and added condemnations of “Islamophobia” and white supremacism.
The resolution, approved by a 407-23 vote, however, specifically condemned the “dual allegiance” sentiments she expressed toward supporters of Israel.
It states that “accusing Jews of being more loyal to Israel or to the Jewish community than to the United States constitutes anti-Semitism because it suggests that Jewish citizens cannot be patriotic Americans and trusted neighbors.”
The resolution also states “accusations of dual loyalty generally have an insidious and pernicious history.”
Last week, Omar said her critics represent a “political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” meaning Israel.
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas was among the Republicans who voted against the resolution. He explained on the House floor that he couldn’t support it because it was “watered down” and diverted attention from Omar’s remarks.
Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel condemned Omar’s “dual loyalty” remark in a guest commentary for The Atlantic magazine, saying she “is casting Jewish Americans as the other, suggesting a dual loyalty that calls our devotion to America into question.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who wants Omar removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized the softened resolution.
“This is not your father’s Democratic Party, if it was ever more obvious than today,” he told Fox News before the vote. “They can’t agree to condemn anti-Semitism.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters Thursday it’s legitimate to condemn Israel’s policies, but Omar’s remarks are way over the line.
“This played on stereotypes, long held, to incite people to turn on their Jewish citizens,” he said, “that somehow they have outsized influence on the media and that anything that supports Israel is because the Jews buy you.”
On Wednesday night, Graham said the Democrats won’t directly condemn Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks because they are “afraid of the radical left.”
“They’re afraid not to impeach the president, they’re afraid of getting their primary, Graham said in an appearance Wednesday on the Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.” They’ve got a billionaire paying money to run against any Democrat who won’t vote for impeachment. They’ve got the radical left threatening to have a revolt inside the Democratic Party if you stand up against antisemitism because they hate Israel so much. That’s pretty odd.”
Omar: Israel’s ‘evil doings’
Omar in 2012 accused Israel of “hypnotizing the world” and prayed that “Allah awaken the people and help them see [its] evil doings.”
In February, she responded to a tweet from journalist Glenn Greenwald about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatening to punish her and another congresswoman for being critical of Israel.
Omar tweeted in response: “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”
In another tweet she named AIPAC as a group funding Republican support for Israel.
After criticism from Pelosi and other Democratic leaders, Omar issued a qualified apology, pledging to learn more about “the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes” while also blaming Jewish money for driving the criticism. Two days later, she took a personal swipe at a Jewish diplomat during a congressional hearing.
President Trump called on her to resign or be barred from serving on congressional committees, saying, “Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress.”
Since then, it’s been reported she is scheduled to speak alongside a notorious, anti-Semitic Muslim leader.
Pelosi: Omar didn’t understand
At a news conference Thursday morning at the Capitol, Pelosi downplayed Omar’s remarks, saying she may not have appreciated “the full weight of how it was heard by other people.”
“I don’t believe it was intended in an anti-Semitic way,” she said. “But the fact is, if that’s how it was interpreted, we have to remove all doubt as we have done over and over again.”
Pelosi said its up to Omar “to explain but I don’t think she understood the full weight of the words.”
“I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude but that she didn’t have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people, where these words have a history and cultural impact that may have been unknown to her.”
New York Post columnist John Podhoretz, who is Jewish, doesn’t buy Pelosi’s take, concluding Omar simply is “an anti-Semite.”
“It’s really not hard to get to the bottom of this: When you say that Jews have magical hypnotic powers to control other people, you’re an anti-Semite. When you say Jews control other people through money, you’re an anti-Semite. When you say Jews have conspired to force you to apologize for saying anti-Semitic things, you’re an anti-Semite. Ilhan Omar is an anti-Semite.”
Podhoretz said that what matters more to the speaker is being on the “right side of their party’s young vanguard in the House.”
Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer said Pelosi’s insistence that Omar “didn’t understand” is “a manifestation of the Left’s unconscious paternalism, its assumption that some groups simply cannot be held to the same standards to which others are held.”
“The full retreat of Pelosi and the Democrat leadership, and failure to rebuke Omar, is part of the ongoing normalization and mainstreaming of Omar’s antisemitism,” he wrote.
Dem lawmaker: Omar’s experience ‘more personal’ than Jews’
He contended her escape from violence in Somalia made her experience “more personal” than the experience of Jews who merely had parents survive the Holocaust.
“There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’ It’s more personal with her … I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain,” Clyborn told The Hill.
Arguing for a resolution condemning other forms of bigotry, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., said: “We need to have an equity in our outrage. Islamophobia needs to be included in this. We need to denounce all forms of hate. There is no hierarchy of hurt.”
Podhoretz reacted to Pressley’s remark.
“No, but there’s a hierarchy of the hate Omar expresses, and that hierarchy features Jews at the top, Jews in the middle and Jews all the way down,” he wrote. “If Omar were guilty of Islamophobia, as well, that too should be included in a resolution condemning her. Doing whatever you can to dilute a resolution against real acts of anti-Semitism in this fashion is called whitewashing.”