Mar 3, 2019 - Politics

Ilhan Omar reignites anti-Semitism controversy in exchange with top House Dem

Democratic Reps. Nita Lowey and Ilhan Omar. Photos: Zach Gibson; Alex Wong via GettyImages

Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has again come under fire for her comments about Israel, after telling Rep. Nita Lowey — who criticized the use of "anti-Semitic tropes that accuse Jews of dual loyalty" — that she "should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country."

The backdrop: Omar “unequivocally" apologized last month for using an anti-Semitic trope while arguing that political support for Israel is based on campaign donations from pro-Israel lobbying groups. At an event on Wednesday, she suggested that lawmakers and activists who support Israel hold “allegiance to a foreign country," the Jewish Insider reported. It prompted House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) to demand she again apologize for "invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur."

What they're saying: In a tweet thread, Omar said that she is constantly told she is "anti-American" if she is not pro-Israel. She argued that being opposed to the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian occupation is not the same as being anti-Semitic, and said she's "grateful to the many Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same."

  • Lowey responded: "No member of Congress is asked to swear allegiance to another country. Throughout history, Jews have been accused of dual loyalty, leading to discrimination and violence, which is why these accusations are so hurtful."

What's next

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports stars, politicians and celebrities mourn NBA great

Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.

What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Sports

What's next: Trump's broader travel ban

A sign for International Arrivals is shown at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP

President Trump is expected to announce an expanded travel ban this week, which would restrict immigration from seven additional countries — Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania, per multiple reports.

  • The announcement would come on the third anniversary of Trump's original travel ban, which targeted Muslim-majority nations, per Axios' Stef Kight.