The Democratic-controlled House easily passed a resolution Thursday condemning anti-Semitism, but only after it was broadened to include Islamophobia.
The action was viewed as a response to comments about Israel made by Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Muslim and Democratic freshman.
“It’s not about her,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, insisted during a news conference. “It’s about these forms of hatred.”
Yet members of both parties acknowledged that Omar’s comments sparked the action. The initial draft condemned only anti-Semitism, but the resolution that passed by a vote of 407-23 Thursday mentioned several groups, including LGBT people.
But Jews and Muslims were the primary focus of the resolution.
The resolution said the House “rejects the perpetuation of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the United States and around the world, including the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance, especially in the context of support for the United States-Israel alliance.” It also said members condemn “anti-Semitic acts and statements as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”
Omar had criticized supporters of Israel for their “allegiance to a foreign country.”
Further, the resolution said the House “acknowledges the harm suffered by Muslims and others from the harassment, discrimination, and violence that result from anti-Muslim bigotry.”
All 23 votes against the resolution came from Republicans.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming said she opposed the resolution because it did not address the issue.
“Rep. Omar’s comments were wrong and she has proven multiple times that she embodies a vile, hate-filled, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel bigotry,” Cheney said. “She deserves to be rebuked, by name, and removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee so that there is no mistake about the values and priorities that the House stands for.”
GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas agreed. He also voted against the resolution.
“It is appalling that any type of anti-Semitic comment would be rationalized by Democrats. In fact, this resolution was solely on the House Floor today because of anti-Semitic remarks made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), yet neither she nor her remarks are ever mentioned in the text. This resolution, edited repeatedly by House Democrats, was meant to condemn anti-Semitism; however, it became so generic that it lost its meaning or significance,” Gohmert said in a statement.
“As I pointed out in my House floor speech, watering down any condemnation of anti-Semitic remarks is the way a holocaust begins,” Gohmert added. “It needed to be condemned immediately before it starts us much further toward more widespread anti-Semitic hatred that leads to another attempted genocide.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Mark Wilson/Staff
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.