Earlier this week, House Democrats were split on the wording used in a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, following freshman Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s (MN-5) “wrong and hurtful” comments against Israel. Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman (VA-5), who was elected in last year’s midterms, appeared on Fox News‘ “Stuart Varney and Co.” to discuss what the freshman representative calls a “pattern of behavior” from Omar, also calling for congressional leaders to remove her from her committee assignments.
There has been much contention between party leaders over the resolution. In its first draft, House Democrats did not mention Omar or Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) for their anti-Semitic “dog whistling” tied to their open support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) has demanded that at the very least, names should be placed within the resolution as a stern reprimand for offensive comments, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) has balked at the proposal.
Early Thursday, Host Stuart Varney asked Riggleman: “What do you make of this?”
“I’m frankly appalled,” Varney added. “If you can’t organize just a wording on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism I don’t think you should be in Congress. What do you say?”
“I say the same thing,” Riggleman replied.
“The wording should be very simple, I think anti-Semitism is bad, she said anti-Semitic things, remove her from her committees,” he explained.
Speaking about his experience as an intelligence officer in the Air Force, Riggleman said Omar’s latest comments show a “pattern of behavior.” He said it’s “not just a one-off [thing]…it started in 2012 from what I can see.”
Riggleman then read a tweet Omar posted in 2012: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
The New York Times linked Omar’s statement to a millennia-old “conspiracy theory of the Jew as the hypnotic conspirator, the duplicitous manipulator, the sinister puppeteer is one with ancient roots and a bloody history”. During an interview, Omar was asked to respond to Jewish Americans who found the remark offensive, but the Minnesota congresswoman replied, “I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans. My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza War and I’m clearly speaking about the way the Israeli regime was conducting itself in that war.”
Following the interview, however, Omar apologized for not “disavowing the anti-Semitic trope I unknowingly used,” The Washington Post reported.
Omar was also criticized by Democratic leaders weeks ago for tweets that implied money spent by pro-Israel lobbying organizations, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), was fueling the U.S. government’s support of Israel. The House Democratic leadership released a statement calling Omar’s tweets anti-Semitic and “deeply offensive.”
“I think this cabal of anti-Israel socialists have to stop running the Democratic Party, because it seems like that’s what’s going on right now,” Riggleman continued.
Asked about how he would word the resolution, the Virginia Republican said, “Condemn Omar’s remarks, remove her from the committees, and that any form of anti-Semitism is wrong. I don’t think it’s a very hard resolution to write.”
On Thursday, the House, in a 407-23 vote, approved the resolution to condemn “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry.” Even though it is the second time Congress’ lower chamber has voted to condemn anti-Semitism as a rebuke of Omar, she was not named in the recent resolution, neither was she named in the first.