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Kevin McCarthy’s Plan to Remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee Faces Opposition

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has made it his mission to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, citing her alleged antisemitic rhetoric and incitement as a reason.[0] Omar, however, has claimed that she was not “aware that there were tropes about Jews and money” when she made her controversial comments.[1]

McCarthy’s claim of antisemitism has been met with opposition, including from Omar’s Jewish constituents in Minneapolis who published a statement against McCarthy’s move.[2] Omar has apologized for her comments and contends that the criticism of her is politically motivated, as well as driven by those who “don’t believe a Muslim refugee, an African, should even be in Congress, let alone have the opportunity to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee.”[3]

The speaker, however, believes that with Omar’s existing record of antisemitic rhetoric and incitement, she should have never been on the prestigious House Foreign Affairs Committee in the first place.[4] He has argued that Israel is under attack from terrorists and at the United Nations, and that Omar cannot be trusted to represent the United States in matters of foreign affairs.[5]

McCarthy’s plan to remove Omar from the committee has run into trouble, as Republican Reps. Ken Buck (CO), Nancy Mace (SC) and Victoria Spartz (IN) have all said they won’t vote to keep Omar off the panel. McCarthy's plan is in danger of being blocked as their voting margin has dropped to only three votes and one Florida Republican is on medical leave, potentially leaving only three votes.[6]

Leading Israeli Jewish influencer and human rights activist Hananya Naftali tweeted, “Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is not only an anti-Semite but also a bad liar. ‘I didn’t know there were stereotypes about Jews and money.’ Spare me.”[7] Omar responded by saying, “I might have used words at the time that I didn’t understand were trafficking in antisemitism.[8] When that was brought to my attention, I apologised.[9] I owned up to it. That’s the kind of person that I am.

0. “Ilhan Omar Suggests GOP Effort to Boot Her From Committee Is Racist” Yahoo News, 29 Jan. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/ilhan-omar-suggests-gop-effort-180242577.html

1. “Ilhan Omar Sees GOP Support for Keeping Her Foreign Affairs Seat” Yahoo! Voices, 29 Jan. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/now/ilhan-omar-sees-gop-support-173611522.html

2. “McCarthy's Vendetta against Rep. Ilhan Omar Recalls Congress's Refusal to seat first African-American Elected to …” Informed Comment, 26 Jan. 2023, https://www.juancole.com/2023/01/mccarthys-vendetta-congresss.html

3. “Omar says McCarthy, Republicans ‘are OK with Islamophobia’” AOL, 29 Jan. 2023, https://www.aol.com/omar-says-republicans-don-t-194146743.html

4. “House Democrats & Left Wing Groups Competing For Pinocchios on Ilhan Omar” Jewish Journal, 26 Jan. 2023, https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/opinion/355456/house-democrats-left-wing-groups-competing-for-pinocchios-on-ilhan-omar

5. “Rep. Ilhan Omar Claims Ignorance Over Her Antisemitism” American Center for Law and Justice, 30 Jan. 2023, https://aclj.org/battling-antisemitism/rep-ilhan-omar-claims-ignorance-over-her-antisemitism

6. “McCarthy May Not Have the Votes to Unseat Omar from Committees” Truthout, 30 Jan. 2023, https://truthout.org/articles/mccarthy-may-not-have-the-votes-to-unseat-omar-from-committees/

7. “Ilhan Omar accused of lying with claim she was unaware of ‘tropes about Jews and money'” New York Post , 30 Jan. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/01/30/ilhan-omar-says-she-was-unaware-of-tropes-about-jews-and-money/

8. “Ilhan Omar Says GOP ‘Not OK With Having a Muslim' on House Foreign Affairs Panel” Common Dreams, 29 Jan. 2023, https://www.commondreams.org/ilhan-omar-house-foreign-affairs

9. “Omar says McCarthy following playbook ‘used by demagogues throughout history'” msnNOW, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/omar-says-mccarthy-following-playbook-used-by-demagogues-throughout-history/ar-AA16Splo?li=BBnbcA1