House votes to remove Ilhan Omar from foreign affairs committee: NPR

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, leaves a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 1. 26.

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Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, leaves a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 1. 26.

Drew Angler/Getty Images

House Republicans prepare to oust the Minnesota Democrat. Ilhan Omar, from the Foreign Affairs Council, cited her past controversial comments about Israel and concerns about her objectivity.

During her first term, Omar drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats for citing anti-Semitic tropes in her tweets. She apologized for the tweets but remained outspoken about the influence Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful pro-Israel lobby, have on American politics.

The resolution was introduced by the House of Representatives. Senator Max Miller, R-Ohio, said Omar “has disqualified himself from serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee, which is seen by nations around the world to speak on behalf of Congress on issues of international importance and national security.”

Miller, one of two Jewish Republicans in the House, said in a statement that Omar “cannot be an objective decision maker on the Foreign Affairs Committee because of her bias against Israel and the Jewish people.”

Omar, who has faced anti-Muslim bias since taking office, told reporters last week that the move to remove her from the committee was “purely partisan.”

“This is not only a political stunt, it is an attack on the integrity of our democracy and a threat to our national security,” she said.

Democrats rebuked Omar for past remarks at the time, but they rallied around her ahead of the vote. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said Thursday that the motion to remove her was not about accountability but “political retaliation.”

“Rep. Omar definitely made a mistake,” Jeffries told reporters. “Ilhan Omar has apologized. She says she will learn from her mistakes and is trying to build bridges with the Jewish community.”

Republicans cite Democrats’ votes to strip Republicans of House seats. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar serve on committee in 2021 as a precedent for Omar’s relocation.

Green lost his position on the committee over his own history of involvement in anti-Semitism, conspiracy theories and calls for political violence. Gosar was condemned by the House of Representatives after sharing a cartoon video showing him murdering his Democratic colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Green and Gosar regained their committee seats amid a Republican majority in the House.

Republican leadership also recently blocked a California Democratic representative. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell serve on the House Intelligence Committee.

For years, some Republicans have called for Omar to be removed from the committee. But others this week expressed due process concerns, and with the Republican majority, it was unclear whether the resolution would have enough votes to pass.

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) supported the move only after adding language allowing members to appeal to the House Ethics Committee. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) dropped his dissent after speaking Wednesday with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, in which Barker proposed that future removals be made by a split majority on the ethics committee. deal with.

“He’s committed to getting stuff like that done,” Barker said Wednesday, adding that Congress needs to “stop this bullshit that kicks people off committees because it’s wrong.”

Rep. Nancy Mays (R-S.C.) has spoken out against the move all week. But she told reporters on Thursday she would vote in favor after McCarthy pledged to create a process through the ethics committee within the next 30 days to handle the deportation.

“We shook hands … I got his commitment,” Mays said. “Due process is very important to me, and maintaining this institution does just that.”

Omar has been facing anti-Semitism charges since 2019

Omar first came under fire for comments about Israel in February 2019, when she tweeted tropes about Jewish wealth and influence over American politics.The tweets drew bipartisan criticism, shortly after Omar issued an apologysaying she was “listening and learning” about “the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes.”

Omar was again denounced the following month for comments critical of pro-Israel lobbying in US politics. In a speech at a political event, she said: “I want to talk about the political clout in this country that says people can push allegiance to a foreign country. I want to ask why I can talk about the NRA or the fossil fuel industry or Big Pharma influence, rather than talking about a powerful lobby that influences policy?”

Many took the comments to imply that American Jews have a “dual loyalty” — a slur that has been used throughout history to harass and persecute Jews. The remarks prompted the House of Representatives to approve a resolution condemning “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry.”

In 2021, Omar drew criticism for comments that appeared to equate the United States and Israel with terrorist groups. In a tweet about the role of the ICC, she said: “We have seen unimaginable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.”

after 12 Democrats In denouncing Omar’s comments, she issued a clarification: “To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for those specific incidents [International Criminal Court] case, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban, or the United States and Israel,” she wrote in a release.

She added: “In no way am I equating a terrorist organization with a democracy with a well-functioning judicial system.”

In 2018, Omar became one of the first Muslim women elected to the House of Representatives, and has been the target of vicious attacks along with other progressive women of color.

In 2019, then-President Donald Trump tweeted that Omar and her colleagues, often referred to as “The Squad,” should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested place they came from.” At a rally by the former president, the mention of Omar — who was born in Somalia and spent time in a refugee camp — sparked chants of “send her back” from the crowd.

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