Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Nita Lowey (N.Y.) argued on social media over the weekend about alleged anti-semitic tropes and support of Israel.
On Saturday, Lowey accused Omar of continuing to “mischaracterize” support for Israel from U.S. lawmakers. “Gross islamophobic stereotypes — like those about @IlhanMN recently featured on posters in WVA — are offensive and have no place in political discourse,” she tweeted. “Anti-Semitic tropes that accuse Jews of dual loyalty are equally painful and must also be roundly condemned.”
In another tweet, Lowey added: “Lawmakers must be able to debate w/o prejudice or bigotry. I am saddened that Rep. Omar continues to mischaracterize support for Israel. I urge her to retract this statement and engage in further dialogue with the Jewish community on why these comments are so hurtful.”
Lawmakers must be able to debate w/o prejudice or bigotry. I am saddened that Rep. Omar continues to mischaracterize support for Israel. I urge her to retract this statement and engage in further dialogue with the Jewish community on why these comments are so hurtful.
— Archive: Nita Lowey (@NitaLowey) March 2, 2019
Omar responded by defending her position, arguing that she has every right to question American-Israel relations as her “allegiance” lies only with the people who elected her to Congress.
“Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee,” the freshman congresswoman tweeted. “The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that!”
“I have not mischaracterized our relationship with Israel, I have questioned it and that has been clear from my end,” she continued in another tweet.
I have not mischaracterized our relationship with Israel, I have questioned it and that has been clear from my end.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 3, 2019
Omar then asserted that “being opposed to [Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin] Netanyahu and the occupation is not the same as being anti-Semitic.
“I am grateful to the many Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same,” the congresswoman added.
Lowey on Sunday agreed that Congress members aren’t forced to “swear allegiance to another country,” but pointed out that accusations of “dual loyalty” against Jewish people can be “hurtful.”
“No member of Congress is asked to swear allegiance to another country,” she wrote. “Throughout history, Jews have been accused of dual loyalty, leading to discrimination and violence, which is why these accusations are so hurtful.”
Lowey’s initial tweet on Saturday came after Omar questioned the effects of special interest groups on foreign policy. “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” she said at a bookstore event in Washington this week, reported the New York Times, before asking why she’s unable to criticize the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) when it’s acceptable to condemn the NRA’s influence.
Last month, Omar apologized for posting tweets which suggested that AIPAC bought influence over U.S. politicians after her comments were criticized as “deeply offensive” by Democratic leaders.
Despite the apology, Trump condemned the Minnesota lawmaker and called on her to resign.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress and I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” the president said, adding that her comments were “deep-seated in her heart.”
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