Bernie Sanders Slams Effort to Condemn Ilhan Omar

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ilhan Omar / Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) came out against the now-stalled push by Democratic leadership in the House to condemn anti-Semitism as a response to comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.).

In a Wednesday afternoon statement, Sanders said he viewed the effort to condemn anti-Semitism in the House as a way to stifle debate on Israel.

"Anti-Semitism is a hateful and dangerous ideology which must be vigorously opposed in the United States and around the world," Sanders said. "We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel."

"What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate," he said. "That's wrong."

Sanders further called for "an even-handed Middle East policy which brings Israelis and Palestinians together for a lasting peace."

The statement from Sanders comes as debate rages within the Democratic caucus in the House on how to respond to the latest anti-Semitic comments from Omar, who last week suggested during a far-left townhall meeting that supporters of Israel have "allegiance to a foreign country."

Omar, like Sanders is now suggesting, said during the event that efforts to label her were an effort to stifle debate.

The Washington Free Beacon reported on Wednesday that Sanders has added staffers with ties to the anti-Israel community.