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 WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE (D-Mass.) on Wednesday defended Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarCarson invokes abortion in Twitter response to jab from Omar WHIP LIST: Democrats who support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump Muslim lawmakers host Ramadan iftar to break fast at Capitol 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 TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE calling it “shameful.”

Warren joins 2020 contenders Sens. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats join striking McDonald's workers Billionaire's M gift to Morehouse grads points way to student debt solution Poll: Nearly half of Clinton's former supporters back Biden MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCastro swears off donations from oil, gas, coal executives Harris leads California Democrats in condemning HUD immigrant housing policy Billionaire's M gift to Morehouse grads points way to student debt solution MORE (D-Calif.) in defending Omar.