Rep. Ilhan Omar Removed From Foreign Affairs Committee As GOP Retaliates Against Democrats
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), a progressive House member, has been removed from her position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee by the House Republicans.
The motion’s success, enabled by the Republican Party’s slim victory in the U.S. House of Representatives during November’s midterm elections, was approved almost entirely on party lines.
Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) was the only defector, choosing to vote present instead of going along with his party.
Omar is a Somali-born immigrant and Muslim-American woman, and she along with several of her Democratic allies in Congress has claimed that this was the primary motivation for her removal.
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“Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy?” Omar said following her removal from the committee.
In a passionate speech on the House floor following the vote, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) said, “One of the things that we should talk about here is … the targeting and racism against Muslim-Americans. … This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America.”
Republicans cite Omar’s alleged antisemitic remarks for the decision. Specifically, she has been accused of antisemitism for suggesting that pro-Israel lobbying groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) drive Washington’s pro-Israel lean, not the ideology and principles of the individual members.
“It’s all about the Benjamins,” she said in a 2019 tweet, in reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American founding father Benjamin Franklin on the one hundred dollar bill.
She eventually apologized for using an antisemitic trope. Since her comments in 2019 however, AIPAC has donated millions of dollars to House campaigns in order to defeat candidates who openly support Palestinian rights. The motion to remove Omar also mentioned her accusation that Israel is an “apartheid state,” a conclusion that prominent human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also come to.
Republicans did not mention Omar’s scathing remarks on the human rights abuses perpetrated by Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia and its Gulf State allies, for which she has received heavy criticism from representatives of those states.
مهم جدا عدم الطير في العجة.
الهان عمر فازت في مقاطعة بولاية مينيسوتا لتكون نائبة في مجلس النواب عن الحزب الديمقراطي.
هي تتبع فكر الإخوان المتحالف مع الحزب الديمقراطي سوف تكون معادية للخليج داعمة إلى الإسلام السياسي ممثل في الإخوان بالشرق الأوسط. pic.twitter.com/oLH0QnzVbc
— فيصل ابراهيم الشمري (@Mr_Alshammeri) November 7, 2018
Republicans have also promoted their own members who used antisemitic language.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Georgia) suggested that the California wildfires were started by powerful Jewish businessmen with their solar technology and compared COVID-19 restrictions to the Holocaust, in which two-thirds of Europe’s Jews were murdered.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre criticized the vote, calling the move a “political stunt.”
At the same time that this congressional squabble is taking place, Israeli military raids in the occupied territories and terrorist attacks by Palestinian militant groups have significantly increased in recent weeks, as the region further descends into violence and uncertainty.
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