Blumenthal Dodges When Asked Whether Omar's Comments Were Anti-Semitic

March 8, 2019

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) on Friday refused to answer a question about whether Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) comments alleging dual loyalty among American supporters of Israel were anti-Semitic.

"Plenty of people watching are going to say, look, it's very easy to blame the president when you're a Democrat. It's harder for a Democrat to blame another Democrat, perhaps. But again, do you think what she said was anti-Semitic? Or was using anti-Semitic tropes?" CNN host Anderson Cooper asked Blumenthal, referring to Omar's comments.

"If the House leadership had decided to begin blaming individuals, Donald Trump might well have been on that list," Blumenthal responded. "And the effort to broaden it to make it about American values I think is very, very important to do, rather than in effect breaking that bipartisan support for Israel and for the denunciation of anti-Semitism in whatever form it may arise."

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning various forms of hate in the wake of more anti-Semitic remarks by Omar.

Last week, Omar said she wanted "to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country" during an event in Washington, D.C., prompting a backlash from both sides of the political aisle.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, slammed Omar for "invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur."

Omar did not apologize for her comments, however, and in fact repeated them in tweets directed at fellow Democratic congresswoman Nita Lowey (D., N.Y.).

Omar did apologize for anti-Semitic tweets written last month, in which she alleged that AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobbying organization, pays politicians to be pro-Israel. She has also called a tweet in which she accused Israel of hypnotizing the world and performing evil acts "unfortunate and offensive."