Warren defends Omar from threats of violence over comments on Israel

Warren defends Omar from threats of violence over comments on Israel
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSupport drops for Medicare for All but increases for public option Hillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill Feehery: Trump may be down, but he's not out yet MORE (D-Mass.) on Wednesday defended Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIlhan Omar raises .1 million in third quarter New California law bans school lunch debt shaming The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies Trump pushed for her ouster MORE (D-Minn.) after the Minnesota Democrat faced violent threats over comments about Israel she made that some criticized as anti-Semitic.

“We have a moral duty to combat hateful ideologies in our own country and around the world--and that includes both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. In a democracy, we can and should have an open, respectful debate about the Middle East that focuses on policy,” Warren, who is running for president in 2020, said in a statement to The Hill. 

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“Branding criticism of Israel as automatically anti-Semitic has a chilling effect on our public discourse and makes it harder to achieve a peaceful solution between Israelis and Palestinians. Threats of violence -- like those made against Rep. Omar -- are never acceptable.”

Omar has been inundated with bipartisan criticism after she suggested pro-Israel groups are pushing members of Congress to have “allegiance to a foreign country.”  

The freshman Democrat first drew censure last month when she accused some members of Congress of supporting Israel as a result of funds from pro-Israel lobbying groups, saying it was “all about the Benjamins baby.” She later said that members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee donated to members of Congress who had criticized her comments. 

House Democrats are currently tinkering with the language of a resolution that is a response to Omar's comments that condemns anti-Semitism. However, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.) has also said that Democrats have no intention of removing Omar from her coveted seat on the panel.

Republicans have excoriated Democrats for what they see as a weak response, with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness school deans call for lifting country-specific visa caps Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report MORE calling it “shameful.”

Warren joins 2020 contenders Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSupport drops for Medicare for All but increases for public option Hillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill On The Money: Trump touts China trade deal | Wall Street, Washington see signs for caution | Trump threatens sanctions on Turkey | Sanders proposes sharp hike to corporate taxes MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisO'Rourke hits back at Buttigieg over criticism of his gun buyback proposal Warren leads Democratic field by 3 points in new national poll Analysis: Warren and Booker most cyber-aware 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.) in defending Omar.