Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D., Va.) has been defending Democratic colleague Ilhan Omar against charges of anti-Semitism, saying that the Israel-obsessed freshman lawmaker is a "victim" of smears from "foreign governments that are trying to divide us," according to recent video from a town hall event.
Wexton came to Omar's defense in response to questions from a concerned Jewish constituent during an event held Sunday at the Goshen Post Elementary School in Aldie, Virginia.
The constituent described the rise of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party, prompting Wexton to offer a defense of Omar that implied "foreign governments" are responsible for the attack on the freshman representative, who has repeatedly and unabashedly made anti-Semitic remarks.
"I'm a Jewish American, and I'm very concerned about the amount of rhetoric we're hearing coming out of Congress," the constituent said, according to video of the event. "I expect this anti-Semitism from the extreme right, but I don't expect it from the extreme left. As a long-term Democrat, I'm very concerned that this party is walking away from me."
In what could be a shot American pro-Israel organizations that have mobilized to condemn Omar's remarks, Wexton tells the constituent that Omar is being attacked by "foreign governments."
"There are a number of folks who are really—who are trying to divide us for their own political ends," Wexton said. "It's not necessarily the right or left—sometimes it is foreign governments who are trying to divide us. So there are many, many, many, many groups that are trying to divide and pit one against another."
The criticism of Omar's anti-Semitism, Wexton claims, is actually the product of Islamophobia on the part of her critics.
"That is why we all came together to draft a very broad, bipartisan resolution condemning hate in all its forms," Wexton said. "Because you know, she has also been a victim of Islamophobia right before her purported comments. I certainly understand your concerns. And you know a lot of this kind of speech comes from the top."
Wexton goes on to claim that President Donald Trump policies amount to bigotry and are responsible for the controversy surrounding Omar.
"So I think we all need to sit down and listen to each other and work together and not be divided, but I certainly understand your concerns," Wexton said. "And you know a lot of this kind of speech comes from the top—you can't disregard the fact that the president is someone said that there were fine people on both sides in Charlottesville. Somebody who opened his administration with what I view as a racist Muslim ban; who has declared war on Latino immigrants and really made it vogue to pit groups against one another."