US President Donald Trump on Monday described recent remarks by Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar — which have been blasted as anti-Semitic and prompted Jewish groups to demand that she be removed from a powerful Senate committee — as “a dark day for Israel.”
Last week Omar, of Minnesota, accused pro-Israel activists and lawmakers of “allegiance to a foreign country.” Dual loyalties is a common anti-Semitic trope.
“Representative Ilhan Omar is again under fire for her terrible comments concerning Israel,” Trump tweeted. “Jewish groups have just sent a petition to Speaker Pelosi asking her to remove Omar from Foreign Relations Committee. A dark day for Israel!”
Eleven Jewish groups, among them the National Council for Young Israel and the Endowment for Middle East Truth, sent a petition Monday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the senior House Democrat, asking that she “immediately remove” Omar from the committee.
A copy of the petition, which was also sent to Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel, who chairs the committee, was published by the Washington Free Beacon.
“In light of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent anti-Semitic tweets, statements…we, the undersigned organizations, request that you immediately remove her as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” the petition said.
“We hope you will continue to demonstrate your commitment to the high moral standards of your office by removing Rep. Omar, a woman who has repeatedly exhibited strong biases against the State of Israel and the Jewish people, from this critically important and sensitive committee.”
Omar said last Wednesday during a town hall in Washington that “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
She later defended her remarks when criticized by top Jewish Democrats in the House, tweeting Monday, “I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.”
I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 3, 2019
In reaction to Omar’s statements, Democrats in the US House of Representatives will put forward a resolution Wednesday condemning anti-Semitism.
Democrats over the weekend drafted a resolution with that message, according to a Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because the document had not been released. Its text was not final as of Monday afternoon.
Responding Friday to her comments, Engel called on Omar to apologize for her “vile anti-Semitic slur.”
Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, has been accused of employing anti-Semitic tropes since taking office over her criticism of Israel and the role of the Jewish state’s backers in Washington. Last month, she apologized after facing widespread bipartisan condemnation for a tweet suggesting Jewish money was behind congressional support for Israel.