Sanders, Harris, Warren Defend Ilhan Omar Amid Controversy Over Israel Comments

By Caroline Kelly and Gregory Krieg, CNN


emocratic presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday defended Rep. Ilhan Omar against the backlash to her comments slamming pro-Israel groups and politicians, which have been called anti-Semitic.

Sanders, who is Jewish, said criticism of Omar and efforts to get her taken off the House Foreign Affairs Committee, primarily from House Republicans, are aimed at stopping a discussion about American’s foreign policy toward Israel.

“What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate,” the Vermont independent said in a statement. “That’s wrong.”

In her own statement, Harris called out all instances of bigotry and expressed concern that the focus on Omar “may put her at risk.”

“We all have a responsibility to speak out against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and all forms of hatred and bigotry, especially as we see a spike in hate crimes in America,” the California Democrat said.

“But like some of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk,” she added. “We should be having a sound, respectful discussion about policy. You can both support Israel and be loyal to our country. I also believe there is a difference between criticism of policy or political leaders, and anti-Semitism. At the end of the day, we need a two-state solution and a commitment to peace, human rights, and democracy by all leaders in the region — and a commitment by our country to help achieve that.”

Later Wednesday evening, Warren added herself to the list of candidates defending the freshman congresswoman.

“We have a moral duty to combat hateful ideologies in our own country and around the world — and that includes both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement. “In a democracy, we can and should have an open, respectful debate about the Middle East that focuses on policy. 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. Threats of violence — like those made against Rep. Omar — are never acceptable.”

Last month, Omar faced criticism for tweets insinuating that the pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee was effectively buying off US politicians. The Minnesota Democrat subsequently apologized after demands from Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and other members of House Democratic leadership, who urged that anti-Semitism be called out “without exception.”

And last week at an event at a Washington bookstore, Omar implied that pro-Israel lawmakers are under a “political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” She argued that critics labeling her an anti-Semite looked to silence a necessary conversation.

Sanders has been among the likely 2020 contenders most willing to denounce the Israeli government over its treatment of the Palestinians.

He also differentiated between promoting anti-Semitism and criticizing Israel as a state.

“Anti-Semitism is a hateful and dangerous ideology, which must be vigorously opposed in the United States and around the world,” Sanders said. “We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel. Rather, we must develop an evenhanded Middle East policy which brings Israelis and Palestinians together for a lasting peace.”

The senators’ remarks come as House lawmakers prepare to vote this week on a resolution prompted by Omar’s comments that condemns anti-Semitism and was updated Tuesday to also condemn Islamophobia.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel said Tuesday that he does not want Omar removed from her seat on the committee because of her recent comments, despite previously calling for her to apologize in a fiery statement.

“I don’t throw names around,” the New York Democrat responded when asked by CNN’s Erin Burnett whether Omar was an anti-Semite. “I think the remarks she made have been very troubling.”

“You hope that people get elected to office and they grow,” he added.

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14 thoughts on “Sanders, Harris, Warren Defend Ilhan Omar Amid Controversy Over Israel Comments”

  1. Congress has a responsibility to hold America dear before Israel, but they don’t!!!!!!! Cui bono? Why doesn’t Congress address their pitiful support of an apartheid nation guilty of chronic murder?

  2. Israel controls America and they brag about it. Our politicians can’t get anything done
    for the people of this nation but they can get ANYTHING done for Israel. $38 billion dollars,
    no problem, $5 billion for a wall to protect America, HUGE PROBLEM, If it was for a wall
    for Israel it would pass in a heartbeat. Israel is “MYSTERY BABYLON” and just as
    it says in Revelation 18 ALL the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her
    including the Trumpster who slobbers all over that sand-box!

    1. The so-called Art Students [Mossad] placed explosives on the 92 floor of the WTC to simulate a place crash. They were all detained and quietly sent back to Israel by dual citizen Michael Chertoff. Search-engine it and you can even see photos of them doing it.

      Michael Chertoff is an American attorney who was the second United States Secretary of Homeland Security, serving under President George W. Bush. He was the co-author of the USA PATRIOT Act.

      The Israeli Mossad was deeply involved in 911. This is a fact that Congress is desperate to keep very quiet.

      1. correction: The so-called Art Students [Mossad explosives experts ] placed explosives on the 92 floor of the WTC to simulate a plane crash.

  3. Sanders, Harris and Warren have been in politics for years, and the Jewish usurpation of America never came up in any of their thousands of debates, interviews or articles. Suddenly Omar, who’s been in Congress two months, is leading these three around by the nose.

    Sure is easy to tell the real leaders (Omar) from the spin doctors

    1. Due to the Holocaust and other issues with Judaism and Israel the entire topic of Israel is very sticky and an embarrassment to the US political scene.

      Israel’s deep involvement with 911 is a big entanglement topic and its only whispered about on alternative news sites of the Internet.

      The Congress has the attitude of just giving Israel its billions of dollars each year but let’s not talk about other issues with Israel. People are fearful of criticizing Israel lest they be called anti semitic. The same was true with Obama. Any negative words about him were immediately called racist.

  4. Israel, Palestinians, Muslims, Arabs, Jews [Judaism], Islam, Zionists. Inside ALL of the entities I just listed are elements that are very dangerous to the US and the rest of the world. You cannot lump them into one group. Each has to be carefully examined individually to ascertain the threat they pose. Its like looking at a bowl of fruit…..each item is very different. To not micro examine each one is lazy thinking.

    There are people within each item I list above that are deadly to the US.

  5. Excellent concise article and encompassing talk from Dr. Fetzer. Thank you!

    Not a fact that can be disputed. BUT, my previous comment still stands…..HOW do the Zionists get away with it? What power do they wield over our CONgress?

    Also, something many forget is Cynthia Mckinney\’s statement (can be found on YT) in which she states that all CONgress members must sign an agreement to support Israel.

    Just simply outrageous!

  6. These chirping politicians are talking and saying nothing. Let’s face it, we have a severe problem with Zionism in this country and something must be done, proactively, before we are totally denervated by the Zio Tribe. Imagine taking an oath to defend Israel before our interests….pathetic. Omar deserves to be Woman of the Year…….say it like it is. Our gutless politicians don’t mind taking away our freedom of speech when Americans criticize the Zios. We are tired of the Shoah sham as well as the current limitations on free speech.

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