Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was removed from the Foreign Affairs committee on Wednesday by congressional Republicans in response to her outspoken condemnation of Israel and what they claim are prior antisemitic comments.
To punish Omar for a series of comments in which she called Israel an “apartheid state” because of its occupation of Palestinian territory and implied that pro-Israel lobbying organizations use the money to buy favor in Congress, GOP leaders planned a final vote of the entire House on Thursday.
The pioneering Somali immigrant has apologized for remarks that she acknowledges could be interpreted as antisemitic, such as one tweet criticizing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other pro-Israel organizations by saying, “it’s all about the Benjamins.”
She nonetheless maintains her criticism of Israel and claims that Congress needs to hear it because most parties firmly support Israel despite its alleged breaches of human rights and its 55-year occupation of the West Bank.
Many of these lawmakers, she claimed, “don’t think that a Muslim, a refugee, or an African should ever be in Congress, much less have the chance to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
Omar was the first Muslim woman born in Africa and the second Muslim woman elected to Congress. She is pleased to be a part of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-progressive Cortez’s “Squad” of women of color.
Democrats claim that the drive to target Omar is merely political retaliation for their decision to remove far-right extremists from committee assignments due to their violent behavior.
“Vengeance is at stake in this. Here, spite is at stake. Rep. James McGovern declared, “This is a political issue (D-Mass.)
Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the House, will have difficulty getting enough votes to remove Omar from office.
He can only afford to lose a few GOP votes in the roughly equally divided House since Democrats will oppose the move in lockstep.