Dissent among Dems over Response to Omar's Israel Remarks

Top Foreign Affairs Dem Rebukes Jew-Hater Ilhan Omar For “Vile Anti-Semitic Slur”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged during a closed meeting on Wednesday that her caucus faces "internal issues" that require "a clearer understanding of what our goal is as a caucus", a knowledgeable Democratic aide told The Associated Press.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) condemned an effort by House Democratic leadership to issue a veiled rebuke of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for comments about the influence of Israel on American foreign policy.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Hoyer said the vote might happen on Thursday during a closed-door meeting while also stating that they were revising the measure and adding language condemning anti-Islamic bias.

"We've individually and collectively already responded to the fact that we oppose all '-isms' that do not treat people in this country fairly and justly", she said. The freshman congresswoman "unequivocally apologized" for February 11 tweets critical of pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC that critics alleged were offensive and anti-Semitic and swiftly spurred bipartisan condemnation. "That was a guy who believed in the same kind of conspiracy theories as Donald Trump and Republican members of Congress day in and day out".

But other Democrats thought that the resolution should be passed.

"First of all, it's not up to me, this is done by leadership", Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) said.

A coalition of Muslim and Jewish groups on Wednesday held a press conference on Capitol Hill to call on Democratic Party leaders to equally condemn anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, and physical threats against any member of Congress. She said afterward any resolution would be "redundant and unnecessary".

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But Hoyer said King's racist remarks had gone on for "years" before the GOP took any steps to address them. Unlike the first time, when she apologized for a tweet widely viewed that way, Omar has been defending her right to criticize Israel. One person in the room quoted the speaker as saying the leaders had tried to increase communication so that members stay united and have "a clearer understanding of what our goal is as a caucus, how we proceed". "I mean, these are the guys who are trafficking in 'globalists, ' 'Soros, ' all this language that helped inspire the guy who walked into a synagogue in October and murdered 11 Jewish worshippers".

For Democrats, the internal divide over how to handle Omar's statements has been exacerbated by members 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!"

But progressive firebrands Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib have come to Omar's defense.

"I want to ask why is it okay for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, or fossil fuels industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying that is influencing policy", she said.

Leaders of influential Jewish-American groups and a number of prominent Democratic lawmakers bristled at what they saw as a suggestion of dual loyalty, pointing out that charged has been used against Jews for centuries to marginalize them politically and socially.

This article was written by Mike DeBonis, Rachael Bade, reporters for The Washington Post.

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