NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Members of the local Jewish and Muslim communities react to members of Congress passing a resolution condemning hate.
The resolution follows the fallout over comments made by freshmen Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments about the Jewish state.
The resolution condemns anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States.
"This is an opportunity once again to declare the strongest possible opposition to anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim, anti-White Supremacist attitudes,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.
The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans issued the following statement shortly before the House vote:
“With respect to today's planned vote on the House of Representatives resolution opposing bigotry, we feel it is reasonable to expect our elected officials to represent all Americans without resorting to stereotyping or tropes. There has been a documented and marked rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States, and what happened in October at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh serves as a sobering reminder that no one should be treated with intolerance or prejudice.
The Jewish Federation actively practices a multifaith outreach within New Orleans, and we work closely with a number of nonprofit and faith-based organizations to make an impact on our entire community. Now, more than ever, it is even more important to recognize the perils of prejudice and to stand together against hate.”
The resolution followed recent tweets by Omar, who is a Muslim.
In one tweet, Omar wrote that she, “should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on a committee.”
In another tweet, Omar suggested that Israel’s allies in U.S. politics were motivated by money, rather than their principles and that drew rebuke from the Democratic leadership in the House, Republicans and divided Democrats on Capitol Hill.
"What I am concerned about is that she’s not only made anti-Semitic comments, but she’s on the committee that has jurisdiction over our foreign policy,” said GOP House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman said Pelosi is faced with the challenges of having a caucus with strong divergent views.
"Supporters of Israel and Jewish Americans have been a core component of the Democratic Party. The Republicans are actually enjoying the Democrats struggle with this issue caused by Rep. Omar’s comments,” said Sherman.
Still having an anti-hate resolution mention only anti-Semitism did not sit well with all Democrats in the House and also some Muslim-Americans.
“There had to be a really big push to add the language against white supremacists, against people who are xenophobic, Islamophobic...The original resolution did not add any language or did not have any language that expressed, that had talked about Muslims, right? It was only about anti-Semitism” said Jenny Yanez, a member of the Jefferson Muslim Association.
Sherman said the question of how to handle Omar’s comments proved challenging for Pelosi.
"The first approach, the narrow one which focused on anti-Semitism alienated other factions of the party that wanted their groups to be represented in the resolution,” said Sherman.
Yanez was incredulous that Democrats had to be pushed to make the resolution more inclusive.
"It’s incredible that the push had to be to tell the Democratic Party to do this because the people that voted the Democratic Party in, these are there interests, right? So they should not have even had this resolution in the first place, they should not have even introduced this resolution in the first place because there have been plenty of instances where there’s white supremacist language in Congress and they never said, or did anything about that, so I think that this has a lot to do with Ilhan Omar being a woman of color and her being a Muslim, ” said Yanez.