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Wed Jan 25, 2023, 07:15 AM

Dems mobilize to defend Omar in face of GOP defections

House Republicans are already facing defections over a leadership push to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar from her committees. Democrats plan to make the vote even more painful.

The Minnesota Democrat and her caucus allies have begun to mount a robust defense of the progressive “squad” member, who Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his allies have repeatedly threatened to kick off committees once the GOP took over the House. While they’ve focused on Omar’s past comments about Israel — some of which divided her own party at the time — Republicans loudly protested last Congress when Democrats booted a pair of conservatives from committees.

Democratic leaders are working to have no defections on the vote to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee when it comes up for a full House vote as soon as next week. And even Democrats who have vocally taken issue with her stance on Israel are now urging colleagues on both sides of the aisle to allow her to remain on the panel.

“She will be the first to tell you that we both disagree on a lot of things. I love Israel, and I will defend it wholeheartedly. She’s deeply troubled by the Israeli government. But that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a voice on the Foreign Affairs Committee, even if it is painful for me,” said Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips — a Jewish Democrat who in the past spoke out against some of her remarks, for which she later apologized.





https://www.politico.com/news/2023/01/24/democrats-ilhan-omar-house-committees-mccarthy-00079319

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 08:31 AM

1. what, exactly, are I.O's "past comments about Israel"?

I remember her saying a lobbying group was all about the Benjamins. Are there others? Because I hate this kind of implication in the article without actually stating it.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 09:12 AM

4. Much has to do with supporting Palestinian rights and supporting BDS

While the most common position for Americans, American politicians and American Jews is the two state solution facts on the ground in Israel with increased settlements in the West Bank make it increasingly less likely. Treatment of Arabs in the area of the West Bank controlled by Israel is an issue that Omar has raised.

BDS is a hot button issue in the US with Israel calling it antisemitic. Some states have actually made it illegal to call for a boycott of Israel. This creates the situation where organizations can LEGALLY call for boycotting states because of political stands .. and I remember both Arizona and Georgia in the past but publicly calling for a boycott of Israel is illegal.

In fact, Omar's position in the Trump years, whole outspoken, was more consistent with decades of US foreign policy consistent with backing a Palestinian state than Trump's one sided position.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 09:15 AM

6. She's talked about Jewish financial interests

It's not just Palestinian rights. That's a mischaracterization of her rhetoric.

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Response to iemanja (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 09:55 AM

10. Yours is a mischaracterization of mine - I did not say "just"

I do think that what she took the most flack for was BDS and calling Israel on Palestinian rights.

That said, she is not one of my favorite Democrats and I think she is often not helpful to our messaging.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 10:10 AM

11. I disagree with your claim

because that is NOT what generated criticism. You object to the word "just" but you consistently leave out the part of her statement that did bring about criticism. The Dem House voted to condemn her rhetoric, and she is hardly the only pro-Palestinian member--but she received the rebuke because of the nature of her language.

Omar said, in the context of the U.S.-Israel relationship: "I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country."

Let's be clear: The problem isn't that Omar criticized Israeli policies. The problem is her comments were anti-Semitic. Accusing Jews of having allegiance to a foreign government has long been a vile anti-Semitic slur used to harass, marginalize and persecute the Jewish people for centuries.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/03/06/ilhan-omars-comments-were-anti-semitic-rhetoric-says-adl-talker/3078821002/


“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Ms. Omar tweeted.

Many understood the tweet as suggesting that Republicans are influenced and financed by pro-Israel groups. They saw it promoting an anti-Semitic trope that Jewish people try to control politics with money

https://apnews.com/article/5640084a8f5db4875983b1fb09549ca3

Keith Ellison was our rep in MN-05 for years, and he was a critic of US support of Israel, but he didn't generate the kind of opposition here than Omar has received. She came within a couple of points of losing her primary bid. Now the anti-Jewish rhetoric was only part of it. People also didn't like her vote with MTG and that crowd over oil sanctions toward Russia PLUS her opposition to the infrastructure bill. But the first criticisms of her came in response to the rhetoric above.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 10:25 AM

12. Thanks

that makes sense - though I don't know why any human being would be for the Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinians.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 09:13 AM

5. She said that lobbying in general was all about the Benjamins. The more money more influence.

everyone got pissy because it is the truth about US politics.

Where I come from it's called bribery, and if there was any proof/evidence there would be a recall and a new election within 6 weeks.

I come from Cuba.



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Response to Marcus IM (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 09:17 AM

7. Because it invokes anti-Semitic tropes

that are used to talk about a global Jewish conspiracy. That's why people were upset. It's perfectly possible to criticize US policy toward Israel and Israeli policy toward Palestine without engaging in that rhetoric. She's alienated a lot of voters here in her home district, in part in relation to that. And this is a district where Keith Ellison, who is also pro-Palestinian, enjoyed widespread support.

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Response to iemanja (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 09:41 AM

8. So, when people refer to $100 bills as Benjamins they're being anti Semitic?

I thought it was referring to Benjamin Franklin who's face is on the bill.

I do remember Dems getting upset at her, but when I listened to her full comments where that statement was made, I didn't see it as a comment on any Jewish conspiracy - but lobbying influence.

I also remember Dems going nuts over Al Frankin's touching (and non touching) of women and ousting him.

When I hear people talking about money and there's a Benjamin reference, I'm thinking Ben Franklin.







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Response to Marcus IM (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 09:55 AM

9. Yes, because it invokes old rhetoric about Jewish financial global domination

It's a completely unnecessary reference. One can easily criticize US policy toward Israel without those dog whistles. I do it all the time.

It's pretty obvious too, not even remotely subtle.

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Response to Marcus IM (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 10:28 AM

13. to be fair, the specific lobbying she was referring to at the time was AIPAC

essentially bribing GOP politicians.

But you (and she) would be right that this applies equally to all legalized bribery (lobbying).

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 08:40 AM

2. Can McCarthy do it unilaterally?

Or does it take a majority vote?

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Response to News Junkie (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 09:05 AM

3. He can only do that for "Select" Committees

not "Standing" Committees like the on that Omar is on, leaving up to a vote to do so via a Resolution. This is why the scramble to secure enough (D) and (R) votes to thwart it.

I.e., Democrats need 5 (R) defections and since (R)s are now missing 1 vote (the guy who fell off the ladder), they are now down to 221 votes, leaving a need for 4. I read yesterday that one (R) Rep. has said she will refuse to vote to kick Omar off so that leaves needing 3 (R)s to vote with all (D)s to keep Omar on the Committee.

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