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House approves language denouncing anti-Semitism in wake of Ilhan Omar comments

February 13, 2019

The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to condemn anti-Semitism, in a vote Republicans orchestrated after freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar posted tweets over the weekend that were deemed anti-Semitic.

The vote came as part of a broader debate over U.S. policy in Yemen.

The non-binding language warned of a “significant amount of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred” both in the U.S. and abroad,” and urged the U.S. to maintain strong ties to Israel.

“I think that this entire House should support this and say once and for all, in a united voice, we will not tolerate anti-Semitism in any form,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, New York Democrat and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The language was read aloud in the House twice.

Republicans used a parliamentary tactic to force a vote on the language. The tactic, known as a “motion to recommit,” orders a bill sent back to committee and then usually reported right back with additional provisions.

It’s a tactic granted to the minority, but it rarely succeeds.

Wednesday’s move, though, drew overwhelming support, with the chamber voting 424-0. Two Republicans, Reps. Justin Amash and Thomas Massie, voted “present.”

Ms. Omar, one of two freshmen Democratic Muslim women, ignited a controversy over the weekend when she said lawmakers who support Israel are doing it because of campaign contributions from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

She has since apologized, saying she now realizes she was perpetuating an anti-Semitic trope about Jewish wealth.

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