Controversial freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D -Minn.) lashed out Tuesday at Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for pushing back against anti-Semitism during the latter’s appearance before the annual AIPAC conference, The Hill reported.
In her speech, Pelosi stressed that Democrats remain “relentlessly bipartisan” in support of Israel and vowed that “we will never allow anyone to make Israel a wedge issue, to be anti-Semitic is to be anti-American.”
“In our democratic societies we should welcome legitimate debate on how best to honor our values and to advance our priorities without questioning loyalty or patriotism,” Pelosi told the crowd of more than 18,000.
She also emphasized the need to remain “vigilant against bigoted or dangerous ideologies masquerading as policy, and that includes BDS,” referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The BDS campaign seeks to delegitimize, demonize, and ultimately destroy the State of Israel by using political and economic warfare.
Hitting back at Pelosi on Tuesday, Omar – who together with fellow freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) are vocal supporters of the boycott movement against Israel – told reporters that “a condemnation for people that want to exercise their First Amendment rights is beneath any leader, and I hope that we find a better use of language when we are trying to speak as members of Congress that are sworn to protect the Constitution.”
Omar has sparked condemnation from lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle, as well as several Jewish organizations, for a series of anti-Semitic comments. The Congresswoman once famously claimed that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” and accused American Jews of dual loyalty.
Pelosi referenced Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks in her address to AIPAC, saying that “the full House came together to condemn the anti-Semitic myth of dual loyalty and all forms of bigotry.”
“I simply declare that to be anti-Semitic is to be anti-American,” Pelosi added. “It has no place in our country.”
Other Democratic leaders speaking at the AIPAC also pushed back against anti-Semitic voices in their party, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
“I stand with Israel, proudly and unapologetically. So when someone accuses American supporters of dual loyalty, I say: accuse me,” Hoyer said, adding that he is “proud to help lead efforts in Congress to push back against the BDS movement.”
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