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Fireworks: House Dems Have 'Full-Scale Brawl' Over Resolution That Indirectly Rebukes Ilhan Omar's Reported Anti-Semitism

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Once again Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has found herself entangled peddling trash talking points that many have rightfully said is grounded in anti-Semitism. In 2012, she said Israel has hypnotized the world, earlier this year her “all about the Benjamins” tweet regarding AIPAC contributions prompted her to issue a sort-of-apology, but these recent remarks, in which the dual loyalty slur was insinuated, she’s not backing down from, which prompted this upcoming House resolution that indirectly targeted her. It’s against anti-Semitism, but we all know why the House Democratic leadership is doing this. As Cortney wrote, they’re also adding an anti-Muslim bias provision to even things out a bit. And now, the resolution itself having a vote is in doubt.

Still, House Democrats are fractured as evidenced by the recent closed-door blow-up, where members of the Black Congressional Caucus would rather go after Donald Trump than one of their own. Jewish members, however, appear to have voiced their support for the resolution, while others vented their frustration at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Corte (D-NY), one of Omar’s few defenders, for targeting fellow Democrats on Twitter. The point being that AOC could’ve just walked down the hall to talk to Democrats who found Omar’s remarks offensive. She didn’t need to start shooting inside the ship (via WaPo):

House Democrats erupted into a full-scale brawl Wednesday, challenging leaders over indirectly sanctioning freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar for alleged anti-Semitic remarks amid an outcry over party inaction to President Trump’s divisive comments on race.

In a closed-door session, Democrats protested plans to vote this week on a resolution condemning religious hatred, a measure prompted by Omar’s comments last week suggesting supporters of Israel have “allegiance to a foreign country.”

The remarks have exploded into a larger debate over how Congress should respond to individual racial and religious grievances. It also touched off Democratic concerns that the splintering was overshadowing the newfound majority’s agenda, with Republicans seeking to capitalize politically on the divide.


Many of those speaking out Wednesday were members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who bristled at the notion that Omar (Minn.) would be targeted for a rebuke — even an indirect one, as Democratic leaders had planned — while lawmakers remain silent about Republican behavior, especially that of Trump.

“I think there’s a big rise in anti-Semitism and racism, and that’s a bigger conversation we need to be having.” said Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.). “But it starts at 1600 Pennsylvania. It doesn’t start with one member out of 435 members of Congress.”


On Wednesday morning, it was unclear whether there was consensus around passing any sort of legislation at all.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) was among the first members to speak up in the meeting, asking, “Why are we doing this?” She said afterward any resolution would be “redundant and unnecessary.”


“We need to have equity in our outrage,” said Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who after the meeting said she was focused on “the occupant of this White House who is seeding every form of hate, emboldening it with racist rhetoric and policies. That is who we all need to be focused on, and this is a distraction.”


…other lawmakers, including a group of Jewish members who pushed to pass the resolution focused on anti-Semitism, remain convinced that the House needs to act in response to Omar’s remarks. Twice in the previous two months, Omar has apologized for past remarks perceived as anti-Semitic, but she has publicly defended the most recent episode as a valid criticism of Israel’s influence in American politics.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), who is among the Jewish members involved in crafting the initial resolution, rose to defend the resolution and, according to one member present, grew emotional. He said his colleagues needed to understand that these sort of words were hurtful to people like himself who had dealt with them all their lives.

Members also began sparring about Democrats targeting each other on Twitter, where much of the public debate has played out — both among Democrats and between members of the two parties.

At one point, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a close Pelosi ally, pleaded with Democrats: “Everyone stop tweeting!”

Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) was targeted on Twitter Tuesday by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), for saying that questioning the U.S.-Israel relationship should be out of bounds.

Vargas on Wednesday brushed off the online clash: “She could have come down the hall and asked me what my opinion is. That would have been fine,” he said, adding, “We have a very different opinion here, I believe. To question someone’s loyalty because they’re Jewish, I think, is terrible.

The Post added that Pelosi tried to keep her caucus focused on the campaign reform bill that’s slated to be voted on at the end of the week, but it’s nice to see them eat each other a little bit. And the fact that quite a few think that this resolution is redundant and unnecessary is telling. So, Jewish Democrats, this is your party. They think they can put anti-Semitism on the backburner…because of Trump. Even on basic actions, actions that are grounded in common sense, like condemning anti-Semitism, the Democrats exhibit Trump derangement syndrome. 

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