House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called out a few freshman members of his party, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), during a speech at a conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — a pro-Israel group that Omar has repeatedly criticized.
As IJR previously reported, Omar has been in hot water with the Democratic Party’s leadership over several anti-Semitic comments she made. She received a written condemnation of her comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after she claimed that people only supported AIPAC because of the “Benjamins,” alluding to an anti-Semitic trope.
While the leadership team organized a half-hearted condemnation, a few freshman members sided with Omar, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), both of whom have had anti-Semitic controversies of their own.
During his speech at AIPAC, Hoyer called out Omar for her claims that supporters of Israel have dual loyalty to the United States, a claim the U.S. State Department has included in its definition of anti-Semitism.
This evening, I addressed @AIPAC’s annual policy conference and discussed strong, bipartisan support for Israel. We stand with Israel because it is important for fidelity to our shared values and for our national security. Read my full remarks here: https://t.co/07ENCXa9Oc pic.twitter.com/4M6b0BBcD2
— Steny Hoyer (@LeaderHoyer) March 25, 2019
“I stand with Israel, proudly and unapologetically. So, when someone accuses American supporters of Israel of dual loyalty, I say: Accuse me. I am part of a large, bipartisan coalition in Congress supporting Israel. I tell Israel’s detractors: Accuse us.”
Hoyer revealed that he, along with a few dozen freshman members of Congress, would be traveling to Israel later in the year to get a better understanding of the difficulties Israel faces:
“This August, I will travel with what I expect will be our largest delegation ever – probably more than thirty Democratic Members of Congress, including many freshmen. They will see first-hand the threats and challenges faced by Israel and its people as well as their extraordinary courage and achievements.”
While he tried to focus on the members he would be traveling with, he also took a jab at Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib, stating that there are more than 60 freshman members of the Democratic Party, not just three.
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) March 24, 2019
Hoyer’s subtle jabs at the three fresh faces of the Democratic Party caused a wave on Twitter as the left-leaning crowd split to side with Omar.
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) March 25, 2019
— Shaun King (@shaunking) March 24, 2019
Hoyer and the old guard in the Democratic Party leadership stand with AIPAC while attacking emerging leaders like @RashidaTlaib, @AOC, & @IlhanMN for fighting for a progressive and humane foreign policy.
But as 2020 Democrats skip AIPAC, Hoyer & the old guard have already lost. https://t.co/ynjBZdapxE
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) March 25, 2019
big shoutout to Steny Hoyer, Meghan McCain and the other fine folks at AIPAC for going out of their way this weekend to show Ilhan Omar was 100% correct and did nothing wrong
— Rob (@robrousseau) March 25, 2019
This rift in the Democratic Party over support for Israel and the new wave of outspoken freshman members is clearly going to be a point of contention for a while.