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Pelosi, Dem leaders urge Omar to apologize for 'anti-Semitic' tweet

House Democratic leaders, led by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Biden unveils virus plan and urges patience | Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden | House to move quickly on COVID-19 relief Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 On The Money: Pelosi says House will move immediately on COVID-19 relief | Biden faces backlash over debt | 900,000 more Americans file for unemployment benefits MORE (Calif.), on Monday accused Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarDemocrats poised to impeach Trump again Pence opposes removing Trump under 25th Amendment: reports Pelosi vows to impeach Trump again — if Pence doesn't remove him first MORE (D-Minn.) of using "anti-Semitic tropes" and called on her to apologize after she sent tweets suggesting that lawmakers defending Israel were motivated by money.

“We are and will always be strong supporters of Israel in Congress because we understand that our support is based on shared values and strategic interests," the top officials of the House Democratic leadership said in a rare joint statement. "Legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share."

Along with Pelosi, the statement was co-signed by Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.), Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesUS Chamber of Commerce to stop supporting some lawmakers following the Capitol riots Lawmakers mount pressure on Trump to leave office Sunday shows - Capitol siege, Trump future dominate MORE (N.Y.) and Caucus Vice Chairwoman Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkPelosi says House will move immediately on COVID-19 relief Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear Sanders defends push to impeach Trump: Insurrection won't be tolerated MORE (Mass.) said in the statement.

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"But Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments," they wrote.

Pelosi added in a tweet that she spoke directly to Omar on Monday.
 
"In our conversation today, Congresswoman Omar and I agreed that we must use this moment to move forward as we reject anti-Semitism in all forms," Pelosi wrote.
 
Omar on Sunday retweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald responding to a story about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyMcCarthy supports Cheney remaining in leadership amid calls for her to step down The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden hits the ground running on COVID Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear MORE (R-Calif.) promising "action" regarding her and Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden and the new Congress must protect Americans from utility shutoffs Overnight Energy: EPA rule exempts many polluting industries from future air regulations | Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report | Officials ousted from White House after papers casting doubt on climate science Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report MORE (D-Mich.) over their views critical of Israel.

"It's all about the Benjamins baby," Omar wrote, referring to money.

Omar then tweeted that AIPAC was paying American politicians to support Israel. She was referring to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, a powerful nonprofit advocacy organization that doesn't directly donate to political candidates. AIPAC does, however, sponsor regular congressional delegations to Israel.

Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, faced widespread condemnation from fellow Democrats for her comments.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is Jewish, issued a lengthy statement saying that Omar's comments were "deeply hurtful and offensive."

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"While of course our nation’s leaders are free to debate the relative influence of a particular organization on our country’s policy-making process, or the factors that make our system of governance imperfect, there is an expectation of leaders — particularly those with a demonstrated commitment to the cause of justice and equality — that they would be extremely careful not to tread into the waters of anti-Semitism or any other form of prejudice or hate. Rep. Omar failed that test of leadership with these comments," Nadler said.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelState Department sets up new bureau for cybersecurity and emerging technologies How Congress dismissed women's empowerment 2020: A year in photos MORE (D-N.Y.), who is also Jewish, similarly accused Omar of invoking an "anti-Semitic trope." Omar is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

"I fully expect that when we disagree on the Foreign Affairs Committee, we will debate policy on the merits and never question members’ motives or resort to personal attacks," Engel said in a statement.

McCarthy pledged on Monday that House Republicans would take action this week "to ensure the House speaks out against this hatred and stands with Israel and the Jewish people." McCarthy's office didn't immediately clarify what exactly that action would entail.

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinWyoming county votes to censure Liz Cheney for Trump impeachment vote GOP divided over Liz Cheney's future READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-N.Y.), who is Jewish, introduced a resolution last month condemning anti-Semitism that specifically cites previous comments from Omar and Tlaib about Israel.

Omar had previously come under fire over a 2012 tweet amid the Gaza War in which she wrote: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.”

Omar backtracked last month, writing in a tweet, "It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy is disavowing the anti-semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive."