Dem lawmaker on Omar tweet: Be careful about how you discuss sensitive issues

Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesRising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Live coverage: Mueller testifies before Congress MORE (D-Conn.) is warning public officials amid the backlash to Rep. Ilham Omar's (D-Minn.) recent tweets about Israel, which prompted allegations of anti-Semitism, saying criticism of the U.S. ally is "legitimate" but should be handled carefully.

"It’s perfectly legitimate to criticize Israel or criticize the pro-Israeli lobby. Just please be careful to do it in a way that can’t be interpreted as being anti-Semitic," Himes said Monday on CNN's "New Day."

ADVERTISEMENT

Himes said officials should feel comfortable giving their opinions on issues but that discussion of Israel requires particular care, given its past and the history of anti-Semitism.

"I think this is really a good example of the need for all of us to be very, very specific about what it is we are saying so that we don’t come off as being anti-Semitic, as being racist, as being bigoted," he said.

Omar, a freshman Democrat, sparked backlash among Republicans and some Democrats after she suggested Sunday evening that pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC was paying American politicians to be pro-Israel.

She also retweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald's response to a story about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel I'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (R-Calif.) promising "action" toward the Minnesota lawmaker and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over their alleged anti-Semitism. She captioned that retweet with the message, "It's all about the Benjamins baby," referring to money.

McCarthy last week blasted Democratic leaders for not taking disciplinary action over Omar's past comments and suggested her words were worse than Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) questioning when the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" became offensive.

Hours after Omar's tweets, he called on Democratic leaders to speak out against "anti-Semitic tropes."

Rep. Max Rose (N.Y.), another freshman Democrat, called Omar's tweets "deeply hurtful to Jews" and "unacceptable."