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Republican Drafts Censure of Ilhan Omar for ‘Pro-Genocide’ Remark

A House Republican said on Tuesday that he was drafting a resolution to formally rebuke Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, for recent comments in which she suggested that some Jewish students at Columbia University were “pro-genocide.”

Representative Don Bacon, Republican of Nebraska, does not yet have a timeline for releasing his censure resolution against Ms. Omar, a spokeswoman said.

But Mr. Bacon said the remark amounted to antisemitism from the congresswoman, a progressive firebrand and one of two Muslim women in the House, who has drawn criticism in the past for incendiary comments.

“Folks can protest Israel, but don’t blame Jewish American students for Israel,” Mr. Bacon told Axios, which earlier reported his censure plans. “That is by definition antisemitism.”

Ms. Omar made the statement while visiting the Morningside Heights campus in New York to stand in solidarity with the pro-Palestinian protesters, including her daughter, who is a student activist there. In an interview, she was asked about Jewish students who have faced antisemitism on campus.

“I think it is really unfortunate that people don’t care about the fact that all Jewish kids should be kept safe,” she said. “We should not have to tolerate antisemitism or bigotry for all Jewish students, whether they’re pro-genocide or anti-genocide.”

The leader of the Anti-Defamation League called it slander that could lead to violence against Jews and demanded an apology. Ms. Omar responded by pointing to a report about anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab harassment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to explain her use of the term “pro-genocide.”

Speaker Mike Johnson, Republican of Louisiana, called her language “detestable.”

At a time when pro-Palestinian protests have divided their party, Democratic leaders have had little to say about the comment from Ms. Omar.

“It’s not the language I would have chosen; it’s not something I would have said,” said Representative Pete Aguilar of California, the No. 3 Democrat. “We all have an obligation to turn the temperature down, especially when we’re in those positions where people are listening to us.”

Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, had not yet spoken with Ms. Omar and did not want to comment publicly until he had done so, said a spokeswoman, Christie Stephenson.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California and the former House speaker, declined to comment.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is Jewish and has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s tactics in Gaza, defended Ms. Omar on CNN, saying that “the essential point that Ilhan made is that we do not want to see antisemitism in this country.” He added that “the word ‘genocide’ is something that is being determined by the International Court of Justice.”

A spokeswoman for Ms. Omar, Jacklyn Rogers, said, “Congresswoman Omar clearly condemned antisemitism and bigotry for all Jewish students.”

“Attempts to misconstrue her words are meant to distract from the ongoing violence and genocide occurring in Gaza and the large antiwar protests happening across our country and around the world,” she added.

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