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- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez laid into both Democrats and Republicans who’ve condemned fellow progressive freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar for comments Omar made that many believe are anti-Semitic.
- Democratic leadership is expected to put a resolution condemning anti-Semitism up for a vote in the House this week after Omar accused pro-Israel lawmakers of pushing "for allegiance to a foreign country" in a tweet last week.
- Ocasio-Cortez argued that the condemnation reveals a double-standard in Congress’ response to different forms of alleged bigotry.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez laid into both Democrats and Republicans who’ve condemned progressive freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar for alleged anti-Semitism.
Democratic leadership is expected to put a resolution opposing anti-Semitism up for a vote in the House this week after Omar accused pro-Israel lawmakers of pushing "for allegiance to a foreign country" in a tweet over the weekend.
Ocasio-Cortez didn’t defend Omar’s recent comments, but argued in a series of tweets that the fierce backlash the Minnesota Democrat is facing reveals a double standard in Congress’ response to different forms of alleged bigotry. She added that Omar, who is Muslim and a Somali-American immigrant, "has demonstrated a willingness to listen+work w/impacted communities" and shouldn’t be subjected to the "nuclear option" of a formal condemnation.
"One of the things that is hurtful about the extent to which reprimand is sought of Ilhan is that no one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx + other communities (during the shutdown, a GOP member yelled ‘Go back to Puerto Rico!’ on the floor)," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Tuesday.
She added that lawmakers are often given a pass for misogynistic, racist, or anti-LGBTQ comments and that congressional leaders should be clear about what behavior merits formal condemnation.
"It’s not my position to tell people how to feel, or that their hurt is invalid," Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "But incidents like these do beg the question: where are the resolutions against homophobic statements? For anti-blackness? For xenophobia? For a member saying he’ll ‘send Obama home to Kenya?’"
This comes just a day after Republican Rep. Steve King, who was stripped of his House committee seats in January following a controversial New York Times interview and renewed scrutiny over his many racist statements, promoted a known white nationalist on Twitter. On Sunday, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan referred to Jewish Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer as "$teyer" in a tweet, which some have also condemned as anti-Semitic.
Ocasio-Cortez also argued Omar’s critics are attempting to silence voices that oppose Israeli government policy and are critical of US policy in the Middle East.
"I remember a time when it was ‘unacceptable’ to question the Iraq War," she tweeted, later clarifying that she meant to say the war in Afghanistan. "All of Congress was wrong, including both GOP & Dem Party, and led my generation into a disastrous + wrong war that virtually all would come to regret, except for the one member who stood up: Barbara Lee."
Omar supports the movement to boycott Israel and has been critical of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. She also been vocal in her opposition to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington that nearly always aligns with the Israeli government.
This comes just weeks after Democratic leaders in the House condemned another comment Omar made on Twitter in which she argued that pro-Israel American lawmakers are influenced by donations from groups like AIPAC.
Omar apologized amid the intense backlash.
The Minnesota Democrat also faced criticism for a November 2012 tweet she wrote during the Israeli military campaign against Hamas in which she argued that "Israel has hypnotized the world."
Omar has also been a victim of bigoted attacks recently. Last Friday, the West Virginia Republican Party displayed a poster linking Omar with the 9/11 terror attacks during an event at the statehouse.
The display featured an image of the twin towers in flames with the caption, "’Never Forget’ — you said.." above a second image of Omar with the caption, "I am the proof — you have forgotten."
The state Republican Party said in a statement that it never approved of or saw the poster before it was displayed, and had it removed after learning of its existence.
Ocasio-Cortez said she was "heartbroken" that the state party didn’t receive more criticism for the incident.
"Those who stood up against anti-Semitism a few weeks ago should also be calling out the Islamophobia here, too," she tweeted.
Omar, who — along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib — is one of the first-ever Muslim congresswomen, condemned the attack and said it was one of many Islamaphobic incidents she’s faced.
"No wonder why I am on the "Hitlist" of a domestic terrorist and "Assassinate Ilhan Omar" is written on my local gas stations," she tweeted. "Look no further, the GOP’s anti-Muslim display likening me to a terrorist rocks in state capitols and no one is condemning them!"
Michelle Mark contributed to this report.
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