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 PelosiSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail' Trump says he'd sign bill funding USPS but won't seek changes to help mail voting On The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' MORE (D-Calif.) of failing to properly vet a Muslim imam who delivered the House invocation before business on Wednesday.

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinDemocrat Nancy Goroff wins NY primary to challenge Lee Zeldin Congress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestorm US lawmakers call on EU to label entire Hezbollah a terrorist organization 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 SandersChris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Kamala Harris: The outreach Latinos need Biden and Harris seen as more moderate than Trump and Pence: poll 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 TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary 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 OmarOcasio-Cortez celebrates 'squad' primary victories: 'The people triumphed' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence Omar fends off primary challenge in Minnesota MORE (D-Minn.) accountable for remarks criticizing Israel and pro-Israel lobbying efforts in the U.S.