WASHINGTON (JTA) — The resolution is called “Recognizing Israel as America’s Legitimate and Democratic Ally and Condemning Antisemitism,” and its cosponsors are a who’s-who of the pro-Israel Democrats, including leading Jewish lawmakers.
Also on the sponsor list: Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has been one of Israel’s harshest critics in Congress and who Republicans on Thursday kicked off the Foreign Affairs Committee for past comments that Jewish groups have said were antisemitic.
In a press release sent out just an hour ahead of a successful party-line vote to remove Omar from the committee, Omar’s name is sandwiched between the names of Reps. Brad Schneider and Josh Gottheimer, two of Congress’ most vocal pro-Israel lawmakers.
Also included in the list are Jewish Democrats such as Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel of Florida, Kathy Manning of North Carolina, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Dean Phillips, a fellow Minnesotan who has clashed with Omar in the past.
Among other forms of antisemitism, the resolution condemns a trope Omar was accused of peddling in 2019: that Jewish Americans are more loyal to Israel than the United States. The resolution “rejects hate, discrimination, and antisemitism in all forms, including antisemitism masquerading as anti-Israel sentiment; stands in unity with the Jewish people in the United States and around the world against the rising antisemitism; and explicitly condemns perpetuation of antisemitic tropes, including claims of dual loyalty, control, and other conspiracy theories antithetical to American values.”
Omar — who has been one of the only members of the House to express support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel — on CNN on Sunday again said she regretted two of her remarks: a 2012 tweet that Israel had “hypnotized” the world and a 2019 tweet that pro-Israel support in Congress was “all about the Benjamins.”
“I certainly did not or was not aware that the word hypnotize was a trope,” she said on CNN. “I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money. That has a been very enlightening part of this journey. I voted for every single resolution — no Republican can say that — condemning antisemitism. My work is clear. The collaboration and work that I do with my Jewish colleagues is very clear.”
In a statement, Gottheimer revealed that he and Omar have been meeting one one to work through issues on which they disagreed, including Israel. “For some time now, I have had an open, often emotional, sometimes pointed, and always honest dialogue with U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar,” he said. “It is no secret that, over the years, I have been unabashedly critical about Congresswoman Omar’s past comments. But, it is an enormous step forward that Congresswoman Omar has signed onto this Congressional Resolution in support of Israel as a Jewish and legitimate democratic State, that acknowledges Israel as a vital ally, and that condemns the use of antisemitic tropes, including those masquerading as anti-Israel sentiments.”
The resolution to oust Omar from the committee, introduced by Rep. Max Miller — an Ohio Republican freshman who is one of two Jewish Republicans in Congress — was narrowly approved Thursday along party lines.
Miller, in introducing the resolution this week, said “Congresswoman Omar has attempted to undermine the relationship between the United States and Israel, one of the most important strategic alliances we have. She has disqualified herself from serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
Democrats who targeted Omar for criticism in the past say the effort to remove her from the committee is cynical retaliation for Democrats’ removal of Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from committees two years ago. Greene and Gosar were targeted for their associations with white supremacists and for appearing to endorse violence against some of their Democratic colleagues.
“I’m Jewish,” Phillips said Tuesday in a tweet attached to Miller’s resolution. “I love Israel. She and I disagree regularly, and she apologized when she caused offense. This is a repulsive, false-equivalency, weaponization of antisemitism, both irresponsible and far more dangerous.” PJC