Sparked by Ilhan Omar's 'Valid Criticism' of Israel, House Overwhelmingly Passes Broad 'Anti-Hate' Resolution
The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a non-binding Democratic resolution condemning anti-Semitism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, and other forms of bigotry.
The final tally was 407-23, with 234 Democrats and 173 Republicans voting yes. All of the no votes were Republicans, and one GOP member—Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)—voted present.
Though the resolution does not mention Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) by name, progressive critics perceived the measure as an implicit rebuke of the congresswoman over her criticism of the Israeli lobby and government.
“While valid criticism of Netanyahu, AIPAC, and Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians are being falsely attacked as anti-Semitism, threats by white supremacists are continuing.”
—Rabbi Alissa Wise, Jewish Voice for Peace.
While advocacy groups that have mobilized in defense of Omar applauded House Democrats’ far-reaching condemnation of hatred and bigotry, they were quick to note that the resolution is far from perfect.
“As the anti-Omar resolution was transformed into a broader ‘anti-hate’ resolution—with plenty of rhetoric that progressives support—it unfortunately found no room to say: ‘Criticism of Israel cannot be equated with anti-Semitism.’ That was the message of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in their defenses of Omar,” said Jeff Cohen, co-founder of RootsAction.org. “Let’s hope the resistance to the original resolution marks a turning point in Congress’ blind support for Israel’s subjugation of Palestinians.”
Linda Sarsour—executive director of MPower Change, a broad coalition of Arab and Muslim groups that helped organize support for Omar—said that it is now time to “get back to work against the rise of white nationalism that threatens all of our communities and build a government and policies that respects every resident of this nation.”
“We are a movement that unequivocally rejects anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, and all forms of bigotry, and expect the same from Democratic leadership,” Sarsour said. “It’s a new day where we no longer will accept attacks on our free speech and stifling of necessary debate on Israeli government policies against Palestinians.”
Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace, echoed Sarsour’s warning about white nationalism, saying, “While valid criticism of Netanyahu, AIPAC, and Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians are being falsely attacked as anti-Semitism, threats by white supremacists are continuing.”
“And we all know who white supremacists have their sights set on: Black people, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and more,” Wise concluded. “We’re happy to see a resolution that condemns real bigotry, rather than going after Rep. Ilhan Omar and her vision of a world free of racism and oppression.”
With a final vote expected as early as Thursday evening, House Democrats released the full text of their resolution condemning anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and Islamophobia.
While the text does not mention Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) insisted it is “not about her,” progressive advocacy groups perceived the resolution as a rebuke of the congresswoman over her criticism of the Israeli lobby.
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