Congressman Dean Phillips has backtracked on his opposition toward Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Last week, Phillips denounced Omar’s radical remarks comparing the U.S. and Israel to terrorist organizations.
Omar wrote on Twitter that, “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
Phillips was among a dozen Jewish house members to call out these offensive remarks. The Jewish Democratic representatives responded to Omar by sharing in a group statement: “Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and contemptible organizations that engage in terrorism at best discredits one’s intended argument and at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice,” the statement says.
Omar’s targeted language toward Israel has deepened a divide within the Democratic Party. A call to remove Omar from her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee was also made. With the party’s position fractured, Phillips chose to go back on his stance.
Now, Phillips told CNN he does not support removing Omar from her committee position.
Mike Berg, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman, said, “If Phillips truly cared about Omar’s disgusting decision to compare the United States to terrorist organizations, he would support efforts to remove Omar from her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”
After her party became unsettled, Omar released a sequence of tweets and a statement in which she wrote that she was “in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”
Omar also called out her fellow representatives when they condemned her position equating the U.S. to a terrorist organization. She said it’s “shameful” for her colleagues to put out a statement asking for clarification on her words, instead of “just [calling]” her.
“Shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now put out a statement asking for ‘clarification’ and not just call,” she tweeted. “The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.”
Omar has been accused of making anti-Semitic comments throughout her career in Congress, including two 2019 incidents in which she suggested that Jews have conflicting loyalties and use their wealth to influence American politics.
Some Democrats, like Nancy Pelosi, have continued to praise Omar, despite her anti-Semitic comments. Pelosi recently called Omar a “valued member” of Congress.