US: Ilhan Omar co-sponsored bill condemning antisemitism on day she was voted off committee
US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a critic of the Israeli government and its treatment of Palestinians, co-sponsored a measure this week that condemns antisemitism and recognises Israel as "America's legitimate and democratic ally".
The measure was introduced on the same day the progressive lawmaker was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, following a push from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
'My critique of our foreign policy, Israeli's policy towards Palestinians or that of any foreign nation will not change'
- Ilhan Omar, US congresswoman
The bill, titled, "Recognizing Israel as America's legitimate and democratic ally and condemning antisemitism", was introduced on Thursday by Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer and has received more than 30 Democratic co-sponsors.
The measure states that Congress "rejects hate, discrimination, and antisemitism in all forms, including antisemitism masquerading as anti-Israel sentiment" and that the legislature "stands in unity with the Jewish people in the United States and around the world against the rising antisemitism".
Omar is listed as one of those co-sponsors as of Thursday, while other progressives - including Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Cori Bush, and Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib - are absent from the list of sponsors.
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Omar's spokesperson, Jeremy Slevin, told Middle East Eye that the focus of the measure is on tackling discrimination in the US.
"The resolution Rep. Omar signed onto is about acknowledging hate and discrimination faced by marginalized communities in the United States throughout its history, including the Jewish community," Slevin said in a statement provided to MEE.
"She believes that as religious minorities we must work together to condemn this ancient hatred. As she said in her speech today, she will continue to stand for human rights around the world."
On Thursday afternoon, Omar tweeted: "My critique of our foreign policy, Israeli's policy towards Palestinians or that of any foreign nation will not change."
On Thursday, Omar was also removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, following an effort from Republican lawmakers to remove her over accusations of her being antisemitic.
The removal was the culmination of a years-long, right-wing attack on the progressive lawmaker, whose comments both criticising US foreign policy as well as the Israeli government have been condemned both from outside and from within her party.
The Democratic congresswoman has often come under fire from other lawmakers, including in her own party, for her criticism of Israel. In February 2019, she tweeted that US support for Israel among politicians was "all about the Benjamins", a reference to the amount of spending by pro-Israel groups.
The tweet received major backlash and Omar was accused of being antisemitic. She later apologised for her remarks, saying that she was learning about "the painful history of antisemitic tropes".
And while Democrats came together in a united front on Thursday to defend Omar, several top Democrats have over the past four years censured the lawmaker for her remarks critical of Israel.
She has also faced Islamophobic attacks from far-right media outlets and Republican politicians, including former President Donald Trump. She has even faced death threats.
The congresswoman's supporters argue that Republicans take her comments out of context to create manufactured outrage, and use Islamophobic undertones to portray her as an outsider trying to undermine the US.
Beth Miller, political director at Jewish Voice for Peace Action, told MEE on Thursday that the vote to remove Omar "was yet another example of Republicans cynically weaponising false claims of anti-semitism to attack progressive women of colour who speak out for Palestinian rights".
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