Apr 29, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar faces new Republican censure threat

Ilhan Omar, wearing a red dress, speaks to an interviewer in a white hallway.

Rep. Ilhan Omar. Photo: DREW ANGERER/AFP via Getty Images.

A House Republican is preparing a resolution to censure Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for referring to some Jewish students as "pro-genocide" during a visit to Columbia University last week.

Why it matters: The GOP-controlled House has repeatedly voted on and passed resolutions to censure and punish pro-Palestinian progressives for inflammatory rhetoric, including Omar.

Driving the news: During a visit to Columbia last Thursday to show support for a pro-Palestinian encampment on the university's campus, Omar was asked by Fox 5 New York about alleged antisemitic incidents spurred by the protest.

  • "I actually met a lot of Jewish students who are in the encampment, and I think it is really unfortunate that people don't care about the fact that all Jewish kids should be kept safe," the Somali-American lawmaker said.
  • She added: "We should not have to tolerate antisemitism or bigotry for all Jewish students, whether they are pro-genocide or anti-genocide."

Zoom in: Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said he is working on a censure measure, telling Axios "talking about pro-genocide Jewish students is wrong."

  • "Folks can protest Israel, but don't blame Jewish-American students for Israel. That is by definition anti-Semitism," Bacon said.
  • The Nebraska Republican added that "all students deserve [a] safe environment."

The other side: "Congresswoman Omar clearly condemned antisemitism and bigotry for all Jewish students," Omar spokesperson Jacklyn Rogers told Axios.

  • "Attempts to misconstrue her words by drafting this baseless resolution are meant to distract from the ongoing violence and genocide occurring in Gaza and the large antiwar protests happening across our country and around the world."

The backdrop: The Minnesotan was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a party-line vote last February over past pro-Palestinian comments which colleagues in both parties labeled antisemitic.

  • Her removal was one of the House GOP's first actions after it took control of the chamber.
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduced a censure against Omar accusing her of "treasonous statements" based on a disputed translation of her speech to Somali-American constituents, but it has not been voted on.
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) was censured in a bipartisan vote last November for defending the chant "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."
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