Following the latest round of bipartisan outrage over alleged anti-Semitic remarks from Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a resolution was proposed in the House that would have condemned Omar for her repeated use of those hateful tropes. But it didn’t end up working out exactly as planned.
Nancy Pelosi admitted to the media on Thursday that the final version of the resolution condemns all forms of hatred, including Islamophobia — not just anti-Semitism — and doesn’t even mention Omar by name.
Pelosi went on to defend the freshman congresswoman, who has come under fire in recent weeks for multiple comments that many have accused of being anti-Semitic.
“I don’t believe it was intended”
Prior to the House vote on the resolution, which passed 407-23, Pelosi was asked in a media Q&A about Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks, which Pelosi dismissed as unintentionally offensive.
“I don’t think that the congresswoman perhaps appreciates the full weight of how it was heard by other people, although I don’t believe it was intended in an anti-Semitic way,” Pelosi said. “But the fact is, if that’s how it was interpreted we need to remove all doubt, as we have done over and over again.”
Asked if Omar needs to apologize, Pelosi said that it’s up to Omar to explain herself, “but I do not believe she understood the full weight of the words,” she said. “I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitudes, but that she didn’t have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people, where these words have a history and a cultural impact that may have been unknown to her.”
The House speaker went on laud the recent resolution brought to the floor by her party as one that condemns “anti-Semitism, anti-Islamophobia, anti-white supremacy and all the forms that it takes” and confirms “that our country has no place for this.”
“It’s not about her”
So why isn’t Omar’s name mentioned in the resolution, as was originally planned? Pelosi says she spoke to the freshman congresswoman and other Democrats when making the call.
“After I spoke to [Omar], some members had different tracks they wanted to take, some with individual statements, some thinking we had to have the resolution. I thought the resolution should be to enlarge the issue to anti-Semitism, anti-Islamophobia, etc., anti-white supremacy,” Pelosi explained.
“And that it should not mention her name,” she added. “That is what we are working on — something that is one resolution addressing these forms of hatred, not mentioning her name, because it’s not about her, it’s about these forms of hatred.”
Pelosi also pointed out that the House has already passed a resolution against anti-Semitism, and later asserted that during recent congressional delegations to Europe, she and others have repeatedly stressed the importance of pushing back against anti-Semitism.
Take a look at the House speaker’s full remarks:
Pelosi may not feel the need to condemn Omar directly for her offensive language, but her failure to do so alienates a large part of the American population who won’t stand for anti-Semitism in any form. Why do Democrats seem so hesitant to do the same?