Monday June 1st, 2020 2:46PM

House broadly condemns hate after anti-Semitism dispute

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Divided in debate but mostly united in a final vote, the House passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other bigotry. Democrats are trying to push past a dispute that has overwhelmed their agenda and exposed fault lines that could shadow them through next year's elections.

The one-sided 407-23 vote Thursday belied the emotional infighting over how to respond to freshman Rep. lIhan Omar's recent comments suggesting House supporters of Israel have dual allegiances. For days, Democrats wrestled with whether or how to punish the Minnesota Democratic lawmaker, arguing over whether Omar, one of two Muslim women in Congress, should be singled out, what other types of bias should be decried in the text and whether the party would tolerate dissenting views on Israel.

Republicans generally joined in the favorable vote, though nearly two-dozen opposed the measure, one calling it a "sham."

Generational as well as ideological, the argument was fueled in part by young, liberal lawmakers — and voters — who have become a face of the newly empowered Democratic majority in the House. These lawmakers are critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, rejecting the conservative leader's approach to Palestinians and other issues.

They split sharply from Democratic leaders who seemed caught off guard by the support for Omar and unprepared for the debate. But the leaders regrouped.

"It's not about her. It's about these forms of hatred," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote.

The resolution approved Thursday condemns anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities "as hateful expressions of intolerance." Omar, a Somali-American, and fellow Muslims Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Andrew Carson of Indiana, issued a statement praising the "historic" vote as the first resolution to condemn "anti-Muslim bigotry."

Some Democrats complained that Omar's comments on Israel had ignited all this debate while years of President Donald Trump's racially charged rhetoric had led to no similar congressional action.

The seven-page document details a history of recent attacks not only against Jews in the United States but also Muslims, as it condemns all such discrimination as contradictory to "the values and aspirations" of the people of the United States. The vote was delayed for a time on Thursday to include mention of Latinos to address concerns of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. It was inserted under a section on white supremacists who "weaponize hate for political gain" over a long list of "traditionally persecuted peoples."

An earlier version focused more narrowly on anti-Semitism. The final resolution did not mention Omar by name.

Getting this debate right will be crucial for Democrats in 2020. U.S.-Israel policy is a prominent issue that is exposing the splits between the party's core voters, its liberal flank and the more centrist Americans in Trump country the party hopes to reach.

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

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

Other Democratic presidential contenders tried to walk a similar line.

California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris said "we need to speak out against hate." But she said she also believes "there is a critical difference between criticism of policy or political leaders, and anti-Semitism."

A statement from Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said, "Branding criticism of Israel as automatically anti-Semitic has a chilling effect on our public discourse and makes it harder to achieve a peaceful solution between Israelis and Palestinians." She said threats of violence, including those made against Omar, "are never acceptable.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said, "Everyone is entitled to their opinion, they are allowed to have free speech in this country," Gillibrand said. "But we don't need to use anti-Semitic tropes or anti-Muslim tropes to be heard."

Another member of the new crop of outspoken young House freshmen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, said the final product, as well as the way presidential candidates are now talking about the issue, showed "there's been some really great progress we've made."

But Omar's rhetoric is taking Democrats to a place that leaves many uneasy. The new lawmaker sparked a weeklong debate in Congress as fellow Democrats said her comments have no place in the party. She suggested Israel's supporters were pushing lawmakers to take a pledge of "allegiance" to a foreign country, reviving a trope of dual loyalties. It wasn't her first dip into such rhetoric.

The new congresswoman has been critical of the Jewish state in the past and apologized for those previous comments. But Omar has not apologized for what this latest comment.

Pelosi said she did not believe that Omar understood the "weight of her words" or that they would be perceived by some as anti-Semitic.

Asked whether the resolution was intended to "police" lawmakers' words, Pelosi replied: "We are not policing the speech of our members. We are condemning anti-Semitism," Islamophobia and white supremacy.

Some of the House's leading Jewish Democrats wanted to bring a resolution on the floor simply condemning anti-Semitism.

But other Democrats wanted to broaden the resolution to include a rejection of all forms of racism and bigotry. Others questioned whether a resolution was necessary at all and viewed it as unfairly singling out Omar at a time when Trump and others have made disparaging racial comments.

There remained frustration that the party that touts its diversity conducted such a messy and public debate about how to declare its opposition to bigotry.

"This shouldn't be so hard," Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said on the House floor.

Among the Republican dissenters, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a member of the GOP leadership, called the resolution "a sham put forward by Democrats to avoid condemning one of their own and denouncing vile anti-Semitism."

In part, Democratic leaders were trying to fend off a challenge from Republicans on the issue.

They worry they could run into trouble on another bill, their signature ethics and voting reform package, if Republicans try to tack their own anti-Semitism bill on as an amendment. By voting Thursday, the House Democratic vote counters believed they could inoculate their lawmakers against such a move.


Associated Press writers Padmananda Rama, Mary Clare Jalonick, Elana Schor, Juana Summers and Doug Glass contributed to this report.


Follow Mascaro and Kellman on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/LisaMascaro and http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellman

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, General House Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
House broadly condemns hate after anti-Semitism dispute
House votes to condemn anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bias
5:43PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Border agency watchdog looking into caravan database
An independent watchdog is looking into a U.S. government database of journalists, activists, organizers and "instigators" during last year's migrant caravan
5:37PM ( 11 minutes ago )
The Latest: House passes resolution condemning bigotry
The House has passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, discrimination against Muslims and bigotry against minorities
5:36PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Uncounted Oregon votes expose election vulnerability
Uncounted Oregon votes expose election vulnerability, state doesn't track ballot collections from outside groups
5:11PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Wife of missing ex-FBI agent blames Iran but critical of US
The wife of a former FBI agent who vanished in Iran in 2007 says the U.S. hasn't done enough to try to get her husband back home
5:08PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Cohen sues Trump Organization, wants it to pay legal bills
President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen has filed a lawsuit claiming the Trump Organization has failed to pay nearly $2 million toward his legal defense
5:02PM ( 46 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
At least 4 Kentucky school districts close amid protests
At least four Kentucky school districts have canceled classes because of too many teacher absences as educators continue to protest at the state Capitol
4:03PM ( 1 hour ago )
Texas governor fills courts with GOP judges voters rejected
Gov. Greg Abbott has quietly been stocking Texas courts with Republican judges freshly rejected by voters, employing one of the strongest powers of his office to stem the erosion of the GOP's decades-long dominance in the state.
3:27PM ( 2 hours ago )
Government kept track of journalists, others during caravan
The U.S. government kept a database on journalists, activists, organizers and "instigators" during an investigation into last year's migrant caravan
3:11PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Ukraine candidate vows 'prison for life' for military graft
Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko on Thursday promised life imprisonment for anyone convicted of military corruption allegations, including the incumbent president
2:24PM ( 3 hours ago )
No 2020 White House run for Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown says he won't run for president in 2020, becoming the latest Democrat to bow out of the White House race.
12:48PM ( 5 hours ago )
Iran cleric linked to 1988 mass executions to lead judiciary
A hard-line cleric once thought to be a possible successor to Iran's supreme leader appears poised to take over as the head of the Islamic Republic's judiciary
11:47AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Elections
Democrats flex power by taking aim at money in politics
Democrats are moving to push through the House a comprehensive elections and ethics reform package they say will reduce the role of big money in politics, ensure fair elections and restore ethics and integrity to Washington
6:18PM ( 23 hours ago )
Cohen's 4th day of testimony could touch on Russia, finances
President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen returns to Capitol Hill for a fourth day of testimony as Democrats pursue investigations into Trump's White House, businesses and campaign
11:01AM ( 1 day ago )
Schiff hires staff with intelligence ties for Trump probes
The House intelligence committee chairman has hired new staff with experience in the intelligence community and law enforcement
2:30PM ( 2 days ago )
General House Election News
The Latest: Cohen delivers more documents to lawmakers
Michael Cohen has turned over documents to lawmakers as he tries to back up his claims that a false statement he delivered to Congress in 2017 was edited by the president's attorneys
8:59PM ( 20 hours ago )
The Latest: Cohen says he'll 'continue to cooperate'
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, says he will "continue to cooperate" with investigators
5:39PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Cohen hands over documents about Moscow project
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, has turned over documents to the House Intelligence Committee that are related to a Trump real estate project in Moscow, The Associated Press has learned
1:24PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
After making millions, R. Kelly could be left with nothing
R. Kelly grew up in one of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods and built a musical brand that earned tens of millions of dollars over nearly 30 years
5:43PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Border agency watchdog looking into caravan database
An independent watchdog is looking into a U.S. government database of journalists, activists, organizers and "instigators" during last year's migrant caravan
5:37PM ( 11 minutes ago )
The Latest: House passes resolution condemning bigotry
The House has passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, discrimination against Muslims and bigotry against minorities
5:36PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Trump disappointed by activity at North Korea missile sites
Satellite photos showing new activity at a North Korean missile research center and a long-range rocket site are raising fresh doubts that Kim Jong Un will ever give up his drive for nuclear weapons
5:19PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Even in nice weather, spring training can be a grind
It may look like a few weeks of relaxed fun in the sun, but spring training can be a grind
5:17PM ( 32 minutes ago )