Ilhan Omar has ruffled a few feathers since taking her seat in the House of Representatives. Last month the Democrat from Minnesota apologized for sending tweets and making statements that many interpreted as anti-Semitic. This week, the freshman Congresswoman is once again being targeted for a comment that suggested pro-Israel activists “push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Now, House Democrats are taking a formal stand against her espoused views and drafted a resolution condemning anti-Semitism from the House floor.
In part, the resolution which was read from the House floor on Wednesday states, “accusing Jews of dual loyalty because they support Israel, whether out of a religious connection, a commitment to Jewish self-determination after millennia of persecution or an appreciation for shared values and interests, suggests that Jews cannot be patriotic Americans and trusted neighbors, when Jews have served our nation since its founding, whether in public life or military service.”
The resolution also gives a brief history of Jewish persecution, talks about the use of scapegoating, and includes a mention of the post-9/11 conditions faced by Muslim-Americans in the United States, “including unfounded, vicious attacks on and threats to Muslim-American Members of Congress.” Although the declaration does not name Omar, Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have been vocal about their opposition to Omar’s statements. It’s a move that has pitted older Democrats against younger ones.
In defense of Omar, American Jewish activist group IfNotNow released a statement saying, “Our generation refuses to ignore the shameful role the out-of-touch leaders in our community have played in elevating the attack on Ilhan.” It went on to say, “Instead of combating the most severe dangers against Jews and all marginalized people, our Jewish and political leaders are attacking one of the first Muslim women in Congress.”
Social media has also responded with the hashtag #IStandWithIlhan. Colleagues like New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have weighed in to point out the hypocritical nature of Congress to reprimand Omar while other members have gotten away with “anti” statements without facing rebuke.
Despite the controversy, Omar is standing behind her comments, tweeting, “Our democracy is built on debate.” In response to Jewish Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s accusation that Omar incorrectly portrays the country’s support for Israel she also added, “I have not mischaracterized our relationship with Israel, I have questioned it and that has been clear from my end.”