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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 WarrenMinimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster Democratic strategists start women-run media consulting firm Becerra says he wants to 'build on' ObamaCare when pressed on Medicare for All MORE (D-Mass.) on Wednesday defended Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMehdi Hasan gets MSNBC Sunday prime-time show Six ways to visualize a divided America Jamaal Bowman's mother dies of COVID-19: 'I share her legacy with all of you' 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 TrumpDonald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE calling it “shameful.”

Warren joins 2020 contenders Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHouse Democrats to keep minimum wage hike in COVID-19 relief bill for Friday vote Sanders slams parliamentarian decision on minimum wage Parliamentarian nixes minimum wage hike in coronavirus bill MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTo unite America, Biden administration must brace for hate Democratic strategists start women-run media consulting firm Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination MORE (D-Calif.) in defending Omar.