Updated Feb 2, 2023, 1:10pm EST
politicsNorth America

Republicans have ousted Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee


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Republicans voted Thursday to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. from the powerful House Committee on Foreign Affairs after accusing her of antisemitism based on past comments she made about Israel.

The vote split along party lines. No Republicans voted against the resolution to remove Omar even as some of them suggested they would just days before.

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“This debate today is about who gets to be an American? What opinions do you have to have to be counted as American?” Omar said in a speech before the vote. “I am a Muslim. I am an immigrant. And, interestingly, from Africa. Is anyone surprised that I am a target?”

Omar’s colleagues also gave impassioned speeches in her defense, invoking past controversial remarks made by Republican members of Congress.

“Don’t tell me that this is about a condemnation of antisemitic remarks when you have a member of the Republican caucus who has talked about Jewish space lasers,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, referring to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s past comments. She argued that Republicans were targeting women of color in Congress.


"[Omar] has never posted a video depicting herself decapitating and killing fellow members of Congress. She doesn’t question whether a plane really smashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. She does not wonder if school shootings are staged,” Rep. Dean Phillips said in her defense.

Republicans like Rep. Michael Lawler from New York said Omar’s removal was about “accountability.”

“The Congresswoman is being held accountable for her words and her actions,” Lawler said.

In 2019, Omar suggested Republicans’ support of Israel was reliant on the powerful lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Her comments were condemned by some members of both parties as antisemitic. Omar later issued a public apology.

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In 2021, Democrats, who were in the majority at the time, took the unprecedented action of removing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., for inflammatory comments and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., for posting an anime meme that appeared to suggest killing Ocasio-Cortez.

The majority leader at the time, Kevin McCarthy, vowed that once Republicans were in the majority he would remove Omar, as well as Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. from their committees.