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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push The Memo: Trump allies see impeachment push backfiring on Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) of failing to properly vet a Muslim imam who delivered the House invocation before business on Wednesday.

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinBen Carson sends Oreos to Democrat who quizzed him on REOs Ben Carson endures Dem grilling over minority inclusion office GOP lawmaker slams Pelosi over response to Tlaib controversy 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 SandersIraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge 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 TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push 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 OmarWHIP LIST: Dems who support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump Muslim lawmakers host Ramadan iftar to break fast at Capitol John Oliver torches Meghan McCain over Seth Meyers dust-up MORE (D-Minn.) accountable for remarks criticizing Israel and pro-Israel lobbying efforts in the U.S.