Ms. Mayer said she “wholeheartedly” accepts Ms. Omar’s “apology for her word choice while also appreciating the moral stance that she takes on this issue which, is pretty unprecedented in today’s Congress.”
Monday’s back and forth came on top of earlier flash points that pitted Ms. Omar against Israel’s fiercest supporters in Congress, Republican and Democrat. She told Yahoo News last month that when politicians “still uphold” Israel “as a democracy in the Middle East, I almost chuckle.” That brought back criticism of a 2012 tweet in which she accused Israel of hypnotizing the world to mask its evil deeds.
She had been trying to mend fences over those comments when Sunday night’s tweet went viral.
Before the leaders’ statement on Monday, other Democrats had broken rank to voice their condemnations. Two House Democrats, Representatives Elaine Luria, a freshman from Virginia, and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, released a letter Monday morning calling on Democratic leaders to speak out against any lawmaker who “uses harmful tropes and stereotypes, levels accusations of dual loyalty or makes reckless statements like those yesterday.”
“As Jewish members of Congress, we are deeply alarmed by recent rhetoric from certain members within our caucus, including just last night, that has disparaged us and called into question our loyalty to our nation,” they wrote. “We urge you to join us in calling on each member of our caucus to unite against anti-Semitism and hateful tropes and stereotypes.”
[Read the letter here.]
The two said in interviews that they were referring both to Ms. Omar and to another freshman Democrat, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the other Muslim woman in Congress. Ms. Tlaib, too, has drawn fire for remarks that her critics say fuel anti-Semitic tropes.
Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called it “deeply disappointing and disturbing to hear Representative Ilhan Omar’s (MN) choice of words in her exchange with a journalist yesterday, wherein she appears to traffic in old anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money.”
Representative Max Rose of New York, another freshman Democrat, responded directly to Ms. Omar on Twitter, calling her statements “deeply hurtful to Jews.”
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