The House on Thursday voted to remove Minnesota Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee citing her anti-Israel comments.
“Representative Omar, by her own words, has disqualified herself from serving on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a panel that is viewed by nations around the world as speaking for Congress on matters of international importance and national security,” said the resolution.
The move was approved by a 218-211 vote along party lines, after a heated debate in which Democrats accused the GOP of targeting Omar for her race.
“I am Muslim, I am an immigrant, and interestingly, from Africa,” Omar said. “Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy, or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced?”
In 2019, Omar, a Somali-born Muslim, suggested that Jewish people were buying U.S. political support by saying that “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.” Her comments were taken by many, including Democrats as an antisemitic trope.
On another occasion, Omar also accused Jewish Americans of being allied to “a foreign country,” called Israel “an apartheid state,” and described 9/11 as an event were “some people did something.”
Democratic lawmakers rallied behind Omar and criticized the decision for her removal from the committee.
“Why is this member being targeted today?” asked Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y. “Could it be the way that she looks? Could it be her religious practices? Because it’s clear if she were on the other side of the aisle, we would not be having this debate today.”
“Consistency? There is nothing consistent with the Republican Party’s continued attack, except for the racism and incitement of violence against women of color in this body,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America.”
However, members of the GOP stood behind the decision, claiming that her past comments make her unsuitable to sit on the committee.
“As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I’ve sat there and heard the representative actually spew anti-American rhetoric as well,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y. said of Omar. “I’ve been in that committee room where the representative equates Israel and the United States to Hamas and the Taliban. Absolutely unacceptable for a member of that committee.”