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March 7, 2019 11:20 am

Engel Says He Won’t Remove Minnesota Rep. Omar From Foreign Affairs Committee

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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Photo: Leopaltik1242/Wikimedia Commons. – The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said on Tuesday that he will not eject Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the committee over her latest antisemitic remarks.

“No, I’m not close to it,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” when asked if he would remove Omar from the committee.

“First of all, it’s not up to me. This is done by the leadership,” he continued. “I don’t know that that would do anything except exacerbate the situation even more. I’m looking to get rid of antisemitism, not looking to punish anybody.”

A party’s steering committee also has the authority to remove a member of a congressional committee as was the case with the Republican Steering Committee removing Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) from his committee assignments after he made remarks questioning how terms such as “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” have become “offensive.”

On Sunday, Omar defended her recent remarks accusing her “Jewish colleagues” for attacking her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for labeling every criticism of theirs as anti-Israel because of the faith of the two congresswomen, in addition to slamming her critics regarding “the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

This evoked condemnation from both parties and from outside groups, including ones in the pro-Israel community.

Organizations such as the Zionist Organization of America and the Endowment for Middle East Truth have taken their condemnations one step further in calling for Omar to be removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee. Members of Congress such as Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) have called for such action.

Omar also serves on the Education and Labor Committee. Its chairman, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), did not return a request for comment whether the congresswoman will be removed from the committee.

Democratic House leadership is preparing to schedule a vote on a resolution condemning antisemitism that reportedly could come as early as Thursday. The resolution is not expected to call out Omar by name. Democratic members, including the Congressional Black Caucus, have been objecting to the upcoming measure.

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