Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) claimed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is “ginning up fear and hate against Somali-Americans” with his threats to strip her of committee assignments over her past remarks, seen by many as antisemitic.
McCarthy had previously promised to strip Omar of her position on the Foreign Affairs Committee if Republicans won a majority, which he reiterated in a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s 2022 leadership meeting in Las Vegas. In response, the Minnesota representative accused McCarthy of racism against Somali Americans and claimed that Republicans were trying to ban all Muslims and Africans from the country.
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“What it does is gin up fear and hate against Somali-Americans and anyone who shares my identity, and further divide us along racial and ethnic lines,” Omar’s statement read. “It is a continuation of a sustained campaign against Muslim and African voices, people his party have been trying to ban since Donald Trump first ran for office.”
Omar also attempted to shift blame to Republicans, saying representatives like Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia were the ones actually stoking antisemitism and bigotry.
“Instead of doing anything to address the open hostility towards religious minorities in his party, McCarthy is now lifting up people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Emmer and so many others,” she continued. “If he cared about addressing the rise in hate, he would apologize and make sure others in his party apologized. McCarthy’s effort to repeatedly single me out for score and hatred — including threatening to strip me from my committee — does nothing to address the issues our constituents deal with. It does nothing to address inflation, health care or solve the climate crisis.”
In his speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition, McCarthy singled Omar out by name as a cause for a rise in antisemitism.
“We watched antisemitism grow not just on our campuses, but we’ve watched it grow in the halls of Congress,” McCarthy said. “You know, I made another promise to you last time. There was this congresswoman, Ilhan Omar. I remember what she said about me. I remember what she said about Israel. I remember what she said about the [U.S.-Israel] relationship. I remembered it so much — I promised you last year she would no longer be on foreign affairs. I’m keeping that promise.”
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Omar has come under scrutiny from Republicans and some Democrats over numerous comments about Jewish people and Israel that have been seen by many as reviving old antisemitic tropes. In 2012, she tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.”