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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 PelosiOn The Money: Democrats deals to bolster support for relief bill | Biden tries to keep Democrats together | Retailers fear a return of the mask wars Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Biden urges Democrats to advocate for rescue package MORE (D-Calif.) of failing to properly vet a Muslim imam who delivered the House invocation before business on Wednesday.

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinMajority of New York voters say Cuomo should not be reelected: poll GOP lawmaker 'actively exploring' run for New York governor Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in on Trump impeachment trial; Biden administration eyes timeline for mass vaccinations 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.

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"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 SandersOn The Money: Democrats deals to bolster support for relief bill | Biden tries to keep Democrats together | Retailers fear a return of the mask wars Democrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill Hillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case 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 TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee 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 OmarHouse approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade Omar introduces bill to sanction Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Minn.) accountable for remarks criticizing Israel and pro-Israel lobbying efforts in the U.S.