It is horrifying that Rep. Lauren Underwood looked a Jewish Illinoisan in the eye and defended an anti-Semite!
A Jewish Illinoisan asked Lauren Underwood why she hasn’t condemned Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism and why she hasn’t called for her removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee...
Lauren Underwood is also a campaign donor to Ilhan Omar. This is not partisan, this is common decency. I cannot and will NOT tolerate anti-semitism!
Just last month NPR asked Underwood four times if she has anything to say about Omar’s comments, but Underwood refused to respond
“Lauren Underwood’s refusal to say anything about Ilhan Omar’s blatant anti-Semitism is shameful encourages further anti-Semitic rhetoric and gives cover to extremists who oppose the State of Israel. Underwood’s unwillingness to specifically condemn acts of anti-Semitism should greatly concern her constituents. It’s clear that Underwood would rather cater to the young radicals in the Democratic Party than the people of the 14th District.” – Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot
For the most part, Democratic members of Congress have decided to give a pass to Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s well-known use of anti-Semitic rhetoric. Omar recently accused Americans who support Israel of having a dual allegiance, putting the concerns of Israel above America’s.
One of those Democratic members is Lauren Underwood, who represents Illinois’ 14th Congressional District. Underwood has refused to say anything about Omar’s comments, let alone specifically condemn them.
From Underwood’s recent interview with NPR:
INSKEEP: This lawmaker, who carefully considers what to say, chose to say very little about another lawmaker’s choice of words. The day we met Lauren Underwood was the day last week when the House voted to criticize anti-Semitism. The resolution answered remarks by Underwood’s fellow freshman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. That issue divided Democrats, and Underwood was determined not to give it any more fuel.
Did she go too far?
UNDERWOOD: I don’t have a comment on that.
INSKEEP: You don’t?
UNDERWOOD: I don’t.
INSKEEP: You’ve been pretty frank on every other issue. What makes…
UNDERWOOD: That’s why I’m being frank on this one.
INSKEEP: Then why – what do – you mean you don’t know what to think about it? Or…
UNDERWOOD: I said I don’t have a comment on it.
Unlike Underwood, some other Democrats were quick to condemn Omar’s remarks. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel penned an op-ed in The Atlantic, saying:
But Omar is crossing a line that should not be crossed in political discourse. Her remarks are not anti-Israel; they are anti-Semitic.
Whether consciously or not, Representative Omar is repeating some of the ugliest stereotypes about Jews—tropes that have been unleashed by anti-Semites throughout history. She is casting Jewish Americans as the other, suggesting a dual loyalty that calls our devotion to America into question.
And here’s what the Boston Herald Editorial Board wrote in their editorial, titled, Democrats, give anti-Semitism safe harbor:
It is remarkable that we find ourselves in a situation where the new faces of the Democrats in Congress speak freely in extremist terms and the rest of the party’s power structure is afraid to tamp it down in any real way. We must call on elected leaders to condemn hateful rhetoric rather than attempt to curry favor with a freshman congressman from the Bronx.
This wasn’t Rep. Omar’s first use of anti-Semitic tropes. In the past, Omar has said:
- “It’s all about the Benjamins” for lawmakers who support Israel, implying that advocacy groups like AIPAC buy support with campaign contributions
- Israel is “evil” and they’ve “hypnotized” the world
But none of that apparently bothers Lauren Underwood.
Underwood’s refusal to say anything about Ilhan Omar’s blatant anti-Semitism is shameful encourages further anti-Semitic rhetoric and gives cover to extremists who oppose the State of Israel. Underwood’s unwillingness to specifically condemn acts of anti-Semitism should greatly concern her constituents. It’s clear that Underwood would rather cater to the young radicals in the Democratic Party than the people of the 14th District.