Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), an early contender for her party's presidential nomination in 2020, said that she worries that the focus on Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D-Minn.) anti-Semitic comments "may put her at risk."
Omar has been criticized, including by top Democrats in Congress, for a series of tweets and statements where she accused Israel of buying off members of Congress and said that pro-Israel members of having an "allegiance" to Israel. She also said that she was "fearful" that her Jewish colleagues took issue with her statements only because she is a Muslim.
What did Harris say?
In a statement, Harris said that the "spotlight" some people are putting on Omar and her comments could put the freshman lawmaker "at risk." The full statement from Harris said:
We all have a responsibility to speak out against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and all forms of hatred and bigotry, especially as we see a spike in hate crimes in America. But like some of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk. We should be a having a sound, respectful discussion about policy. You can both support Israel and be loyal to our country. I also believe there is a difference between criticism of policy or political leaders, and anti-Semitism. At the end of the day, we need a two-state solution and a commitment to peace, human rights, and democracy by all leaders in the region — and a commitment by our country to help achieve that.
On Wednesday, a vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism (which was in response to Omar's comments, but failed to name her once) was delayed until Thursday after members of the Congressional Black Caucus accused Democratic leaders of joining with Republicans to unfairly target Omar.
At a news conference Thursday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who initially publicly reprimanded Omar, said that this resolution was not about Omar but about "forms of hatred" including "anti-Semitism, anti-Islamophobia, et cetera. Anti-white supremacist."