One of the two first Muslim women to serve in Congress has apologized for comments on social media widely condemned as anti-Semitic. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said she apologized “unequivocally” following a joint statement released by House Democratic leaders calling on her to do so.
“Anti-Semitism is real,” Omar tweeted Monday afternoon, “and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes.”
She added, “We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”
Omar questioned the financial relationship between AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby, and members of Congress in tweets over the weekend. In her apology, Omar added that she still believes there is a “problematic role” for lobbyists, whether it’s AIPAC or the NRA
The House leaders’ statement, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the tweets “deeply offensive.”
We are and will always be strong supporters of Israel in Congress because we understand that our support is based on shared values and strategic interests. Legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share. But Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”
The statement was issued jointly with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James Clyburn, Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján, Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Caucus Vice Chairwoman Katherine Clark.
The leadership statement came after two Jewish House Democrats began circulating a letter Monday to their colleagues asking them to join in asking party leadership to condemn anti-Semitism citing “recent rhetoric from certain members within our Caucus.”
By Susan Davis for N P R
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