- Republicans have criticized some freshmen Democrats for language about Israel and associations with anti-Semitic fundraisers.
- House Democratic leaders have stood by the new members of Congress, saying they do not buy into the accusations of anti-Semitism.
WASHINGTON – Democratic leaders pushed back on criticisms from Republicans that certain members of the House Democratic Caucus are anti-Semites on Tuesday.
Recently, freshman Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have been criticized for remarks they have made about Israel, drawing heavy criticism from Republicans and allies of the Jewish state.
Omar has angered supporters of Israel based on past tweets of hers, including one where she wrote, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
The conservative Daily Caller reported on Monday that one of Tlaib’s prominent fundraisers in her home state of Michigan has a lengthy track record of promoting conspiracy theories about Israel and the Holocaust.
Asked directly about the report on Tlaib’s backers, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries said in a Tuesday press conference, “I found those two new freshman members to be thoughtful colleagues on a wide variety of issues.”
In a separate meeting with reporters, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer dismissed the accusations.
“I don’t know that I draw the conclusion that these two members are anti-Semitic,” Hoyer said. “I don’t accept that.”
Republicans have been adamant that leadership should condemn the associations and remarks. When Omar was appointed to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier in January, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy condemned the decision.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in Congress and certainly not on the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” he said in a statement. “I am deeply disappointed in Speaker Pelosi’s choice, a choice that threatens the Committee’s long history of bipartisan support for Israel.”
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney called the appointment “shameful” and that such remarks “can never be allowed to stand, in any form or forum.”
“Rather than condemn these abhorrent views, Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats are elevating Rep Omar,” she added. “We call on them to correct this immediately.”