The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed a motion to remove Democrat MK Ilhan Omar from a powerful committee. Republicans accuse him of having made anti-Semitic remarks in the past, while Democrats say the decision was in retaliation for other expulsions in the previous term.
Ilhan Omar is the third elected Democrat to be stripped of her seat on the House Committee by Republicans this year. Stripped of her role on the Foreign Affairs Committee, this former Somali refugee has been accused of making several statements critical of Israel since 2012 – statements condemned by both parties.
“I’m a Muslim, I’m an immigrant and, as it happens, I’m from Africa,” the party’s left-wing elected representative said during a speech in the Congress Chamber ahead of the vote, when “someone was surprised” that she was targeted.
The removal of certain elected Democrats from parliamentary committees was a promise made by Kevin McCarthy during his campaign to become the new “speaker” of the House of Representatives.
According to the Republican, Democrats created a “new normal” when they were in control of Congress by barring the highly controversial Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from certain committees and accusing them of inciting violence against their political opponents have.
Ilhan Omar, one of two Muslim women in Congress, apologized in 2019 after implying that Republican support for Israel was fueled by financial donations from a pro-Israel lobby.
Five years earlier, before entering Congress, she claimed that Israel had “hypnotized the world” and urged people to open their eyes to the “misdeeds” of the United States ally.
The Minnesota lawmaker has since said she was unaware at the time that her remarks played on anti-Semitic stereotypes, including those associating Jews with money.
According to House Democrat leader Hakeem Jeffries, Ilhan Omar’s comments had already been the subject of due process of disciplinary proceedings.
“It’s political revenge,” he said.