Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party and its impact on the U.S.-Israeli relationship.
“I worry about it for multiple reasons,” Pompeo told Brian Kilmead of Fox News. “Not just the relationship between these two democracies, but I worry about it because it undermines why we began today.
“The protection of the dignity and rights and the religious freedom of every human being, so when I hear anti-Semitic remarks, it saddens me, and I know it undermines what is the greatest about the United States of America,” he said.
Anti-Semitism has been an issue for Democrats in the new Congress because of the statements and actions Muslim Reps. Ihlan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
House Democrats recently passed a resolution initially intended to reprimand Omar for anti-Semitic remarks. But the measure evolved into a generic criticism of “hate” without mentioning her name.
Omar tweeted that pro-Israel politicians are paid off with Jewish money and accused Jewish Americans of have a “dual loyalty.”
Pompeo said the anti-Semitic statements are hurting the U.S.-Israel relationship.
“Not just the relationship between these two democracies but it undermines the protection of the dignity and religious rights of every person,” he said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters when the resolution was before Congress that it’s legitimate to condemn Israel’s policies, but Omar’s remarks were 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.”
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.”
Tlaib followed an Instagram account that routinely shares blatantly anti-Semitic posts and 9/11 conspiracy theories, comparing Jews to vermin.