Freshman Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) apologized to Jewish constituents at a town hall meeting on Tuesday night for anti-Semitic comments made by fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) that drew bipartisan backlash, Jewish Insider reported.
“As a young congressman, I’ve got to tell you I’m sorry,” Rose told the crowd gathered by the Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO) of Staten Island. “You sent me to Congress to take responsibility. You sent me to Congress to have your back (…) and I failed you. Because I know that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s comments really caused you all a lot of pain by bringing up anti-Semitic tropes.”
Omar has frequently been in the news over the past months for her views of American Jewry. In February, she was forced to apologize after tweeting that U.S. politicians supported Israel because Jews paid them to. She also claimed that the charge of anti-Semitism was meant to shut down debate.
In November 2012, the now-congresswoman tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized the world” to ignore its “evil doings,” using traditional anti-Semitic language about a nefarious Jewish cabal that controls and deceives the world.
“Let me be very honest with you,” Rose said. “I was horrified and sad when she made the comments. So horrified that as a freshman member of Congress I stepped in front of my party’s leadership and I was the first member of the Democratic Party to criticize her.”
He explained that while he accepted Omar’s apology at the time, “I am not satisfied with what I’ve seen thus far, I’m not (…) and I don’t know any who are either.” Rose concluded by pledging to “work as hard as I can to make sure that these comments are not made again.”
Rose’s comments came as some Minnesota Democrats consider the prospect of supporting an unprecedented primary challenge against Omar in 2020, following bipartisan condemnation of several of her anti-Semitic remarks.
“I’d be pretty uncomfortable supporting Rep. Omar right now, given what I’ve learned about her since the election and given her apparent inability to stop insulting Jews,” said Sen. Ron Latz (D-MN), who represents a district which is home to a large Jewish population.
Josh Block, CEO and President of The Israel Project, made similar observations in a recent interview on PBS NewsHour. Omar had used “specific language that seeks to marginalize and stigmatize Jewish participation in the political process, in a way that’s very dangerous for Jews,” Block said.
[Photo: Fox and Friends / YouTube ]