Democrats clash over anti-Semitism resolution in response to Omar comments

By Rebecca Kaplan, Bo Erickson

/ CBS News

House to vote on anti-bigotry resolution

Tensions between House Democrats spilled into public Wednesday as members debated whether the House should pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism. The resolution came in response to recent comments by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, who suggested pro-Israel political organizations "push for allegiance to a foreign country."

The Democratic leadership originally crafted a resolution for a vote this week that did not mention Omar by name but broadly condemned anti-Semitism, including accusations that Jews have "dual loyalty" to Israel. But the timing of the vote – as well as the resolution's contents – remained unclear as some black and progressive members argued that the resolution was unnecessary, or should at least contain broader condemnation of hateful ideology.

"We can make sure that we speak against anti-Semitism and we have to make sure we speak against Islamophobia," Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, said Wednesday morning. "We are so strongly against anti-Semitism. We have said that before. I don't know how many times we need to continue to say that in the face of, I think, some Republicans who just want to use this as a wedge issue but don't necessarily call out anti-Semitism on their own side."

She said that Omar was "under a microscope" for comments that her Republican colleagues have not faced when they make similar remarks.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Michigan, said, "I think if we're gonna do a resolution, it must be inclusive of all the behavior that we find unacceptable." But, she added, "for us to go out just because a member said something and put a resolution – I just don't see the value in that."

For other members of the caucus, especially Jewish members, the resolution is an obvious and necessary response.

"It's the 21st century, and the fact that we have to put a resolution on the floor and spell out for people what anti-Semitism means is pretty outrageous," said Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. "Because you have some members who either repeatedly or individually continue to use anti-Semitic tropes – and I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say it's unknowing – then apparently we do need to put a resolution on the floor that educates people about how harmful and hurtful anti-Semitism is."

Democratic leaders were originally hoping to vote on the resolution this week, but delayed it Tuesday night after agreeing to add more language condemning anti-Muslim bias, according to two Democratic aides. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday that leadership was still working on the language. Asked if the House would still vote, Speaker Pelosi replied, "I'm hoping so, when we are ready."

A Wednesday morning meeting of the caucus grew heated as times. A Democratic source in the room confirmed a story first reported by Politico that another freshman, Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Connecticut, complained that members were finding out from the media, rather than their leadership, about the official response.

"If you're not going to listen to me, I'm done talking," Pelosi said as Hayes turned to talk to another member, before dropping the microphone and leaving the meeting.

Republican leaders have seized on Omar's comments – both now and last month when she Tweeted a suggestion that support for AIPAC, a pro-Israel advocacy group, was motivated by money – to excoriate the freshman representative and force the Democratic leadership to turn against her. GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, said Omar "embodies a vile, hate-filled, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel bigotry" and Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, called once again for her to be ousted from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried to draw a contrast with the way his party condemned Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, over his recent remarks on white supremacy. King was removed from his committee slots.

"I'm proud of this conference, the way we've reacted to tough decisions recently…I listened to the speaker, I heard the words that she said to her conference on how tough votes on the floor. It should not be tough to stand up to this type of talk," McCarthy said.

But Hoyer said King's racist remarks had gone on for "years" before the GOP took any steps to address them. And he said he does not believe Omar is anti-Semitic.

Omar's allies, including her fellow Muslim representative, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, allege Omar is being unjustly targeted because she is a Muslim woman of color.

"Of course there is" a double-standard for women of color," Tlaib said. "All of us women of color can see that."

Asked about this potential double standard, McCarthy said the criticism has nothing to do with Omar's Muslim faith.

"She questioned whether somebody could have alliance and faith to America and have faith — be of Jewish faith and still be an American in belief. No one should raise that question to her faith either, that's the point of what the argument is about," McCarthy said.

As they find themselves taking heat both from the left and from their Republican colleagues, other Democrats are suggesting that the GOP's criticism ring hollow because of how they've reacted to inflammatory statements by President Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that anti-Semitism had become "fashionable" among members of the freshmen class, prompting Democratic Conference Chairman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to ask, "When has he ever said anything about the hateful remarks that continue to flow out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?"

"So we're not gonna be lectured by Mitch McConnell on anything," Jeffries, a New York congressman, said.

First published on March 6, 2019 / 1:38 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Rebecca Kaplan

Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

Twitter

Dems clash over anti-Semitism resolution in response to Omar comments

Some members want broader language condemning any hate speech, and others wonder whether a resolution is necessary at all

2M ago

Dollar Tree closing hundreds more Family Dollar stores

Discount retailer to shutter or rebrand almost 600 locations and is even looking into pricing some items above a buck

11M ago

House Oversight Committee investigating reports of voter suppression in Georgia

Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings sent a letter requesting documents from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who some Democrats suspect used voter suppression tactics as secretary of state

12M ago

R. Kelly interview with Gayle King and continuing coverage

R. Kelly's explosive interview with "CBS This Morning's" Gayle King stunned the nation and brought new attention to the criminal sexual abuse charges against the famous R&B singer.

20M ago

Trump jumps 51 spots on Forbes billionaires list

The world's billionaire class is poorer by $400 billion, Forbes reports, citing stock market drops and global slowdowns

20M ago

Dems clash over anti-Semitism resolution in response to Omar comments

Some members want broader language condemning any hate speech, and others wonder whether a resolution is necessary at all

2M ago

House Oversight Committee investigating reports of voter suppression in Georgia

Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings sent a letter requesting documents from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who some Democrats suspect used voter suppression tactics as secretary of state

12M ago

Prosecutors agree to drop all charges against ex-Rep. Schock

Aaron Schock, once a rising star in the Republican Party, must repay taxes, campaign committee

40M ago

One detained baby remains in ICE custody in Dilley, Texas

Advocates are concerned the increase in the number of detained babies may indicate a shift in ICE policy

1H ago

Top Democrats hold press conference on net neutrality

The Trump administration rolled back Obama-era net neutrality regulations last year

2H ago

Inside a village in Kenya where women rule – and men are banned

In an extremely rural part of Kenya, a woman has a 95 percent chance of being beaten by her husband

1H ago

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn released after posting bail

Auto executive, charged with financial misconduct, has left a Tokyo jail after being detained for more than two months

3H ago

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau faces election year corruption scandal

2 of Trudeau's Cabinet ministers, one a long-time friend, have resigned over judicial interference claims

3H ago

France plans new tax on 30 internet giants

The likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook face a 3 percent levy on French revenue, which Paris says is "about justice"

4H ago

Hundreds of kids allegedly facing terror charges in Iraq

Human Rights Watch report says children are being wrongly detained and accused of ISIS membership

5H ago

R. Kelly interview with Gayle King and continuing coverage

R. Kelly's explosive interview with "CBS This Morning's" Gayle King stunned the nation and brought new attention to the criminal sexual abuse charges against the famous R&B singer.

20M ago

Parents plead for daughter's return from R. Kelly

Joycelyn Savage's parents held a press conference to respond to R. Kelly's comments about their daughter

49M ago

R. Kelly says surviving childhood abuse hasn't affected his own behavior

"I know people say, 'Oh, well, he was abused. Well, that's why he doin' that.' No, no, no, no, no," he told CBS News' Gayle King

4H ago

R. Kelly breaks his silence on sex abuse claims: "I have been assassinated"

In an explosive interview, the embattled R&B singer says all the women accusing him of physical and sexual abuse are lying

6H ago

Tuba player finds harmony after overcoming homelessness

Richard White had an unlikely path to his career in music

18H ago

What we know about tornadoes and climate change

Is the science that links the two definitive?

11H ago

Social media influencers may sway kids to eat more junk

"This is the modern-day version of using popular cartoon characters to sell sugary breakfast cereals or juice boxes"

Mar 4

"Brotopia" author on slow progress for women in tech

Emily Chang, author of "Brotopia: Breaking up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley," says the disparity is causing bias to be built into products

Mar 4

Scientists prove bees can do math

A new study finds that honeybees can perform basic arithmetic – adding or subtracting – triggered by color cues

Mar 3

SpaceX craft pulls off flawless docking with space station

SpaceX moves a step closer to launching astronauts on its Crew Dragon spacecraft

Mar 3

FDA approves form of ketamine for depression treatment

In the 1990s, the medication was adopted as a party drug by the underground rave culture due to its ability to produce psychedelic, out-of-body experiences

15H ago

FDA commissioner who sounded alarm on teen vaping submits resignation

Gottlieb has submitted his paperwork for resignation, "but he will be on for at least another month," an administration official said

21H ago

Make more room for happiness in your life by decluttering

Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin says there's a connection between outer order and inner calm – "even a sense of possibility"

Mar 5

It costs less than $60 to have a baby in Finland. How?

Finland is consistently praised for its low infant and mother mortality rates, paid maternity leave and healthcare and daycare systems

Mar 5

Where you buy your prescriptions could be costing you thousands

A new survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found the same inhaler being sold for $11.99 at one pharmacy cost $1,136 at another

Mar 5

Dollar Tree closing hundreds more Family Dollar stores

Discount retailer to shutter or rebrand almost 600 locations and is even looking into pricing some items above a buck

11M ago

Trump jumps 51 spots on Forbes billionaires list

The world's billionaire class is poorer by $400 billion, Forbes reports, citing stock market drops and global slowdowns

20M ago

Tortillas from heirloom corn: A win for diners and farmers

Entrepreneur Jorge Gaviria is opening the door for Mexican farmers by bringing their corn to the world's best chefs

1H ago

Goldman Sachs relaxes dress code — to a point

Investment bank taking more flexible approach to what employees wear, saying people know what attire is appropriate

2H ago

Woman reads fine print, wins $10,000

Donelan Andrews says as nerdy as it sounds, she always reads the fine print – and this time it paid off

3H ago

Chris Watts drove 45 minutes with daughters and dead wife, lawyer says

Four-year-old Bella Watts pleaded for her life, just moments after she watched her father kill her younger sister, according to lawyer

6H ago

R. Kelly denies sexual abuse allegations in explosive interview

The R&B singer is charged with sexually abusing four women, three of whom were underage at the time of the alleged events

18H ago

Millions raised for Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims

About $4.4 million will go to those most directly affected by the Oct. 27 attack, including victims' families and two seriously injured congregants

19H ago

With no charges in Clark shooting, feds open civil rights probe

The state investigation into Stephon Clark's death was separate from the probe led by the local district attorney, who also declined to charge the police officers involved

21H ago

Why children don't often report sexual abuse

It is estimated one in nine girls and one in 53 boys are sexually abused or assaulted by an adult

23H ago

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here