Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesDems seize on Trump feud with intelligence leaders Meghan McCain on Ocasio-Cortez: She is ‘just like Trump on Twitter’ Ocasio-Cortez to host session for Dems on how to effectively use social media MORE (D-Conn.) is warning public officials amid the backlash to Rep. Ilham Omar’s (D-Minn.) recent tweets about Israel, which prompted allegations of anti-Semitism, saying criticism of the U.S. ally is “legitimate” but should be handled carefully.
“It’s perfectly legitimate to criticize Israel or criticize the pro-Israeli lobby. Just please be careful to do it in a way that can’t be interpreted as being anti-Semitic,” Himes said Monday on CNN’s “New Day.”
Himes said officials should feel comfortable giving their opinions on issues but that discussion of Israel requires particular care, given its past and the history of anti-Semitism.
“I think this is really a good example of the need for all of us to be very, very specific about what it is we are saying so that we don’t come off as being anti-Semitic, as being racist, as being bigoted,” he said.
“People in public office should feel comfortable opining on things,” says Rep. @jahimes on Rep. Omar’s tweet on Israel.
— New Day (@NewDay) February 11, 2019
Omar, a freshman Democrat, sparked backlash among Republicans and some Democrats after she suggested Sunday evening that pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC was paying American politicians to be pro-Israel.
She also retweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald’s response to a story about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyDem lawmaker: Omar’s statements ‘deeply hurtful to Jews’ Jewish advocacy group calls on Omar to apologize after ‘stunningly anti-Semitic’ tweet Congress seeks to avoid new shutdown: Five things to watch MORE (R-Calif.) promising “action” toward the Minnesota lawmaker and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over their alleged anti-Semitism. She captioned that retweet with the message, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” referring to money.
McCarthy last week blasted Democratic leaders for not taking disciplinary action over Omar’s past comments and suggested her words were worse than Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) questioning when the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” became offensive.
Hours after Omar’s tweets, he called on Democratic leaders to speak out against “anti-Semitic tropes.”
Rep. Max Rose (N.Y.), another freshman Democrat, called Omar’s tweets “deeply hurtful to Jews” and “unacceptable.”