GOP lawmaker slams Pelosi after imam critical of Israel delivers House invocation

GOP lawmaker slams Pelosi after imam critical of Israel delivers House invocation
© Greg Nash

A GOP congressman is accusing Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Hobbled NRA shows strength with Trump MORE (D-Calif.) of failing to properly vet a Muslim imam who delivered the House invocation before business on Wednesday.

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinHouse Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 House Democrats target 2020 GOP incumbents in new ad Trump to hold Hamptons fundraisers; top ticket is 0K: report MORE (R-N.Y.) told AM 970's "The Answer" that Pelosi should have blocked Imam Omar Suleiman from speaking before the House, citing his past support for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement which urges private entities and governments to cease doing business with Israel over its government's treatment of Palestinian citizens.

“On Thursday the noon prayer was given by an Imam from Texas who has a long history of, not just supporting BDS, but comparing Israel to the Nazis," Zeldin charged.


"Accusing Israel of being a terror regime. Calling for a Palestinian Intifada… and inciting violence [and] supporting the Muslim brotherhood … I think it is outrageous that Speaker Pelosi… chose that radical Imam to be speaking before Congress," Zeldin continued.

“I was caught off guard by it quite honestly. There was no announcement it was going to happen. The Speaker either… failed to vet the Imam, or, worse, they did vet the Imam and thought it was a good idea to bring him anyway," he said. "A bad call either way."

Pelosi's office did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on Zeldin's criticism. In Facebook and other social media postings, Suleiman has compared Israel's treatment of Palestinians to South African apartheid and other tyrannical regimes, while decrying Israeli military strikes on supposed terrorist groups in Gaza and the West Bank as "massacres."

Israel's government has been roundly criticized by progressives including Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE (I-Vt.) in recent years for military action against Palestinian protesters as well as the country's response to terrorist attacks committed by pro-Palestinian groups. Republicans and some Democrats have defended Israel's government from such criticism.

Republicans including President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE have honed in on that criticism in recent months, decrying it as anti-Semitic and demanding Democratic leadership hold members of Congress such as Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMaher hits back at Tlaib: Does she 'want to boycott 93 percent of her own party?' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' Trump ramps up attacks on Tlaib MORE (D-Minn.) accountable for remarks criticizing Israel and pro-Israel lobbying efforts in the U.S.