House Dems urge leadership to condemn anti-Semitism after Omar tweet

Source: Politico | February 11, 2019 | Melanie Zanona

A pair of House Democrats is calling on leadership to condemn anti-Semitism and denounce controversial remarks made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), as the party faces growing pressure to respond to accusations that one of their members is anti-Semitic.

Reps. Josh Gottheimer (N.J.) and Elaine Luria (Va.), who are both Jewish, are collecting signatures for a letter they plan to send to Democratic leaders expressing deep concern over “recent rhetoric from certain members within our Caucus, including just last night, that has disparaged us and called into question our loyalty to our nation.” The letter, which was obtained by POLITICO, is being circulated to Jewish Democrats.

Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, suggested in a tweet Sunday night that Republican support for Israel is fueled by campaign donations from pro-Israel groups like AIPAC.

“We urge you to join us in calling on each member of our Caucus to unite against anti- Semitism and hateful tropes and stereotypes,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “In recent weeks, we have had conversations with multiple members of our Caucus who share our concerns about this rhetoric; we have also raised these concerns with Democratic leadership.”

“We must speak out when any Member – Democrat or Republican – uses harmful tropes and stereotypes, levels accusations of dual loyalty, or makes reckless statements like those yesterday,” they added.

Both Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) have been repeatedly attacked by the GOP for their critical views toward Israel and support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which targets Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. But Omar’s latest tweet earned rebukes from members of her own party, including from freshman Reps. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) and Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.).

“We hope that our Caucus will take swift action to address these issues in the coming days by reiterating our rejection of anti-Semitism and our continued support for the State of Israel,” Gottheimer and Luria said in the letter to leadership.

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