Pelosi: Omar's Comments Were Not 'Intentionally Anti-Semitic'

Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar / Getty Images
March 6, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said Wednesday she does not think Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) comments about support for Israel were "intentionally anti-Semitic."

Pelosi also said she is unsure a resolution condemning anti-Semitism will get a vote this week, as reported by Politico's Jake Sherman.



At an event in Washington, D.C. 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."

The comment prompted backlash from Republicans and Democrats, with House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel (D., NY) calling it "unacceptable and deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow Americana citizens because of their political views, including support for the U.S.-Israel relationship," and castigating Omar for "invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur."

Omar did not back down from her comments, however, and wrote in a tweet on Sunday that she "should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee."

Omar ignored questions about her comments on Tuesday, apparently concentrating on a phone call while reporters peppered her with questions.

House Democratic leaders initially indicated they would vote on a House resolution condemning anti-Semitisim as early as Wednesday in a veiled repuke of Omar's comments. Not everyone in the caucus agreed with the proposed move, however. "House Democratic leaders are struggling to contain the controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar's comments about Israel, with the caucus fighting behind closed doors over whether — and how — to respond," Politico reported.

Earlier this month, Omar apologized for anti-Semitic tweets, many of which were quietly deleted last week. In one instance, she quote-tweeted liberal journalist Glenn Greenwald, who was criticizing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) for threatening punishment against Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). In response to Greenwald's tweet, Omar wrote, "It's all about the Benjamins baby." She followed up by accusing AIPAC of paying politicians to be pro-Israel.

Omar has also apologized for a past tweet in which she accused Israel of hypnotizing the world and performing evil acts.