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Bernie Sanders Kamala Harris Condemn Effort To Rebuke Ilhan Omar


Two leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination blasted House Democratic leadership’s effort to rebuke Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for comments she made about the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on American foreign policy.


The statements, by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), jeopardize the effort to condemn Omar and suggest a shift is taking place in the way the Democratic Party treats U.S. policy toward Israel.


Their decision to break with House Democratic leaders followed a vocal backlash to criticism of Omar from the party’s progressive base, which argued that Democrats were singling Omar out for her status as a black Muslim woman.


Sanders spoke up first.


“Anti-Semitism is a hateful and dangerous ideology which must be vigorously opposed in the United States and around the world. We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel,” Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday. “Rather, we must develop an even-handed Middle East policy which brings Israelis and Palestinians together for a lasting peace.


“What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate,” he continued. “That’s wrong.”


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) provided a similar statement shortly after Sanders on Wednesday.


“We all have a responsibility to speak out against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and all forms of hatred and bigotry, especially as we see a spike in hate crimes in America,” Harris said in a statement. “But like some of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk.”


“We should be having a sound, respectful discussion about policy. You can both support Israel and be loyal to our country,” she continued. “I also believe there is a difference between criticism of policy or political leaders, and anti-Semitism. At the end of the day, we need a two-state solution and a commitment to peace, human rights, and democracy by all leaders in the region ― and a commitment by our country to help achieve that.”


Sanders, who, if elected, would be the first Jewish president of the United States, was under growing pressure from his most devoted supporters to speak out in Omar’s defense. Read more

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Bernie Sanders Kamala Harris Condemn Effort To Rebuke Ilhan Omar