Mon, 22 Apr 2019

In Jerusalem, Pompeo Takes Jab at US Democrats on Anti-Semitism

Voice of America
21 Mar 2019, 07:37 GMT+10

JERUSALEM - Top U.S. diplomat Mike Pompeo issued a thinly veiled jab at U.S. Democrats over anti-Semitism on Wednesday, following controversial comments by a Muslim congresswoman over American support for Israel.

Speaking from Jerusalem during a Middle East tour largely focused on countering Iran, Pompeo told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

'All nations, especially those in the West, must go to the barricades against bigotry.'

He noted the 'dark wave of anti-Semitism' in Europe and the United States.

'Sadly, we in the United States have seen anti-Semitic language even in the great halls of our own capital,' he said.

His remarks came after Muslim Democratic congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, last month suggested that supporters of Israel are urging lawmakers to have 'allegiance to a foreign country.'

She also suggested that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbying group was paying U.S. politicians to support Israel.

Both Pompeo and Netanyahu are scheduled to speak at AIPAC's annual conference in Washington next week.

Following outrage over Omar's remarks, Congress passed a measure opposing hate speech in general.

The resolution was originally intended to deliver a direct rebuke of anti-Semitism, but it was revised to broadly condemn discrimination against Muslims and other minorities as well after blowback from progressives.

U.S. President Donald Trump seized on the shift and accused the Democrats of becoming an 'anti-Israel' and 'anti-Jewish' party.

Some Democrats had expressed anger that Omar could be facing an implicit rebuke, while racist statements by Trump and other Republicans go largely unchallenged.

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