U.S. lawmaker apologizes after House leaders condemn comments as anti-Semitic

U.S. lawmaker apologizes after House leaders condemn comments as anti-Semitic

Reuters  | Feb 11, 2019 08:26PM ET

U.S. lawmaker apologizes after House leaders condemn comments as anti-Semitic

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar apologized on Monday after party leaders condemned her comments about the pro-Israel lobby in the United States as using anti-Semitic stereotypes.

"Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes," Omar, who was elected for the first time to the U.S. House of Representatives in November, said in a statement.

"My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole," she said, adding that she "unequivocally" apologized.

Omar was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats for saying on Twitter that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, was paying U.S. politicians to support Israel.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic House leaders condemned her remarks earlier, calling for an apology and saying anti-Semitism must be confronted and condemned.

"Legitimate criticism of Israel's policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share," they said. "But Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel's supporters is deeply offensive."

Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, said on Twitter, "Rep. Omar's use of anti-Semitic stereotype was offensive and irresponsible."

President Donald Trump later criticized Omar's remarks and said her apology fell short.

"I think she should be ashamed of herself. I think it was a terrible statement. And I don't think her apology was adequate," Trump told reporters en route to El Paso for a speech to press his case for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

© Reuters. FILE P HOTO: U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar participates in a news conference to call on Congress to cut funding for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

Even before her most recent comments, Republicans had criticized Democrats for appointing Omar to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and called for her to be removed from her seat because of past statements critical of Israel.

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Cottrell Evans
Cottrell Evans

She shouldn't have apologized knowing that people would question her sincerity. Americans place more value on knowing where people stand.  ... (Read More)

Feb 13, 2019 03:35PM GMT· Reply
Murray Asher
Murray Asher

seems that anti semitism is every where. But where there are bribes for favors, there will be a queue of corrupt politicians. While this curiosity did not start in the USA they have become the best, and therefore teach the rest.  ... (Read More)

Feb 12, 2019 12:00AM GMT· Reply
Louis Queneau
Louis Queneau

this is bad for the democratic party on the whole. It gives legitimacy to the right's claims of racism and anti-Semitism in democrats.  ... (Read More)

Feb 11, 2019 11:52PM GMT· Reply
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