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 ZeldinCo-founder of Israel boycott movement denied entry to US: report GOP to launch discharge petition on anti-BDS measure Stacey Abrams says Stephen Miller shows 'vestiges of white nationalism' MORE (R-N.Y.) singled out Democratic Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar mocks Trump's claims of 'presidential harassment': 'Just lived through one!' The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Georgia freshman Dem does not list Omar donation on election filing MORE (Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Mueller report poses new test for Dems Dems plan Monday call on Mueller report: 'Congress will not be silent' 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."