GOP lawmaker accuses Dems of 'empowering' anti-Semitism

GOP lawmaker accuses Dems of 'empowering' anti-Semitism
© Greg Nash

A GOP lawmaker on Thursday accused House Democrats of "empowering" anti-Semitism by not speaking out against the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinFuror over Omar puts spotlight on AIPAC Zeldin slams Omar for 'lack of empathy' in her apology The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - All eyes on Trump after lawmakers reach spending deal MORE (R-N.Y.) singled out Democratic Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarDems wish civil rights icon John Lewis happy birthday: 'We are stronger because of you' Why Omar’s views are dangerous Omar apologizes to Jewish groups over tweet condemned as anti-Semitic: reports MORE (Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDem lawmaker inspires social media users to share selfies in their glasses Tlaib condemns bar crawl event in Detroit as 'racist bulls---' Furor over Omar puts spotlight on AIPAC MORE (Mich.) in a tweet for their support of the BDS movement, which is critical of the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians.

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Opponents of the BDS movement have alleged that it is rooted in anti-Semitism, while supporters maintain it focuses solely on the actions of Israel's leaders.

"Rep. Omar who supports BDS has said, 'Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,' " Zeldin wrote on Twitter, quoting a 2012 tweet from Omar's account.

"Instead of the Dems supporting Israel & combatting BDS & anti-Semitism on college campuses & elsewhere, they’re now empowering it," he added.

His comments came hours after Omar addressed criticism of her tweet and the BDS movement on CNN, during which she noted that the message was sent during the eight-day conflict in 2012 between Israeli forces and suspected militants in the Gaza Strip.

Tlaib's office declined to comment to The Hill on Zeldin's tweets, while a request for comment to Omar's office was not returned.

"I don't know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans," Omar said Thursday morning. "My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza war, and I am clearly speaking about the way the Israeli regime was conducting itself in that war."

Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress. The Minnesota Democrat has referred to herself and Tlaib's election as a rebuke of religious bigotry in the U.S.

“In a time where there is a lot of religious bigotry, it’s almost perfect to have this counterbalance. My sister Rashida and I are from the heartland of America,” Omar said last year. “To be elected to Congress is a real rejection of that message."