House To Vote On Anti-Semitism Resolution Amid Dem Tensions

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a House Education and Labor Committee Markup on the H.R. 582 Raise The Wage Act, in the Rayburn House Office Building on March 6, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

House Democrats are moving toward a Thursday vote on a resolution condemning hate speech against Jews and other groups after days of internal tensions and infighting surrounding controversial remarks from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), House leaders announced Thursday.

The language of the resolution itself has been under hot debate for days — the first major schism within the Democratic caucus since they took control of the House at the beginning of the year, and one that’s shown major divisions along racial, generational and ideological fault lines.

It’s unclear exactly what the language of the current resolution is, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters it would make clear “we are against bigotry, we are against prejudice and against hate.”

Omar’s accusation last week that pro-Israel advocates were pushing for “allegiance to a foreign country” was seen by many as anti-Semitic, playing into centuries-old tropes that Jews hold dual allegiances and can’t be trusted as patriots to their home countries. It came after an earlier Omar tweeted that support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby” (she apologized for those remarks).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) moved on Monday to introduce a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, urged by senior Jewish Democratic lawmakers. But the language of the resolution was objected to by broad swaths of her own caucus. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus warned that Omar was being unfairly singled out, and voiced concerns that targeting one of the House’s only two Muslim women when she was facing death threats of her own.

Pelosi and other Democratic leaders returned to the drawing board Wednesday, after a tense meeting with rank-and-file members. Now it appears they think they have language that can satisfy most of the caucus.

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