In what many political watchers called hypocritical, vengeful, and a show of strength by the new Republican majority, the House voted to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, citing her past comments about Israel.
The resolution to remove Rep. Omar from the panel was approved 218-211 along party lines with one Republican member voting “present.” The GOP cited Omar’s tweets and comments from 2019 and 2021 in which she criticized pro-Israel politicians as being “all about the Benjamins” and her comparison of the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.
Both Democrats and Republicans expressed outrage over the remarks. The resolution stated that Omar’s remarks had brought dishonor to the House of Representatives and that she had “disqualified herself” from serving on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which is seen by nations around the world as speaking for Congress on matters of international importance and national security.
Since 2021, when Democrats controlled the House and voted to remove far-right GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from committee assignments over their own controversial comments, Republicans have promised to take action against Omar and other Democrats.
After McCarthy became speaker last month, he reinstated both members to their previous committee assignments.
Omar admitted this week that she “may have used words” that she later learned were “trafficking in antisemitism.” She said when others brought the transgression to her attention, she apologized. “I owned up to it,” Omar, 40, asserted.
House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York pledged to appoint Omar to the House Budget Committee.
Reacting to Omar’s ousting, CAIR-Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said in a statement, “The removal of Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee is unjustified, hypocritical, and inspired by racism and Islamophobia.
“This decision also puts a target on her and her family and community from the ongoing threat of White supremacy. We are disappointed but surprised.”
Rep. Omar vowed to fight on during a speech on the floor Thursday morning: “I will continue to speak up because representation matters. I will continue to speak up for the sake of little kids who wonder who is speaking up for them.
“I will continue to speak for the families who are seeking justice around the world—whether they are displaced in refugee camps looking to find a home somewhere, or whether they are hiding under their bed somewhere like I was, waiting for the bullets to stop.
“I didn’t come to Congress to be silent. I came to Congress to be their voice. And my leadership and voice will not diminish if I am not on this committee for one term.”
This story was provided in part by Stacy M. Brown of the NNPA News Wire.
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