(January 18, 2019 / JNS) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, despite anti-Israel statements made by the freshman Democrat, such as tweeting that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” and her support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Republicans blasted the move.
“I would love to know what changed because Democratic leaders just promoted a pro-BDS Democrat to a key committee that deals with the State of Israel,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). “Anti-Semitism has no place in Congress and certainly not on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said that by appointing Omar, “House Democrats have now just endorsed that ideology.”
House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) labeled Pelosi’s choice “shameful” and called on her to reverse the appointment, which was made on Jan. 17.
The Republican Jewish Coalition echoed their party leaders.
“This really cuts against Democrats claiming that she and [Michigan Rep. Rashida] Tlaib are just freshmen, and don’t have any real power in the party. Democratic leadership just chose to put an anti-Semite on the all-important committee rather than take a stand against her abhorrent views,” RJC spokesperson Neil Strauss told JNS. “It is despicable that Democrats are so afraid to upset their far-left base that they no longer are willing to oppose anti-Semitism.”
In a CNN interview that aired Wednesday night, Omar defended her record on Israel, including the “hypnotized” tweet: “Those unfortunate words were the only words I could think about expressing at that moment.”
She added, “What is really important to me is that people recognize that there is a difference between criticizing a military action by a government that has exercised really oppressive policies and being offensive or attacking to particular people of faith.”