Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are struggling to decide how or whether to rebuke a new Democratic lawmaker, a Somali-American Muslim who has criticized Israel in ways that many find offensive.
The House could vote Thursday on a resolution that condemns both Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, a statement that at first was clearly aimed at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, one of two Muslim women who were elected to the 435-member House last November and took office in early January, but does not name her.
But the debate over the resolution about the 37-year-old lawmaker from the midwestern state of Minnesota has evolved into questions into over whether the statement was needed at all, whether she as a Muslim, a distinct religious minority in the U.S., was being unfairly singled out or whether her remarks about Israel needed to be disavowed since the House had already recently adopted a statement condemning anti-Semitism.
Omar has incensed many fellow Democrats for her comments calling into question long-held U.S. support for the Jewish state that has been a bedrock belief of Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike since the country’s inception in 1948. Numerous Democrats, with a few exceptions, say her comments are anti-Semitic and have condemned them as well beyond the realm of normal political debate in the U.S.
While the majority Democrats in the House struggled to offer a response to the controversy, President Donald Trump chided them.
“It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference,” Trump said Wednesday on Twitter. “Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!”