by Molly Prince
Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar played on her phone in the back of the chamber as the House of Representatives voted on the resolution that was intended as a reprimand for the congresswoman’s anti-Semitic comments, according to a report published Friday.
The House passed a resolution March 7 that initially served to condemn a series of anti-Semitic statements Omar made, but was subsequently “watered down” to condemn hatred in all forms. The resolution was in response to the age-old canards about Jews that Omar had asserted over Twitter, including a claim that Republicans’ support for Israel is bought by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Many also interpreted her comments as Jews having a “dual loyalty” to the U.S. and Israel.
The text of the resolution, which passed 407-23, did not mention Omar by name.
During the vote, Omar was reportedly playing on her phone and was “seemingly oblivious to the remarkable rebuke being leveled at her,” according to Politico. She was reportedly standing alone in the back of the room until fellow Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington entered the chamber, where they “embraced and soon doubled over in laughter.”
“She came up to me on the floor, and she gave me a big hug,” Jayapal told Politico. “I told her that some of my gray hair was [from her] over the last week.”
Omar, along with fellow Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, became America’s first Muslim congresswomen when sworn into office in January. Both congresswomen’s time in office has been embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism — Omar has defended the anti-Semitic statements, such as ones invoking Allah to expose Israel’s “evil doings,” and she is on record suggesting Israel is not a democracy. She also gave an interview to a host that referred to Israel as the “Jewish ISIS” and mocked how Americans speak about al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.
Following the resolution’s passage, Omar issued a statement saying she was “tremendously proud” of the anti-hate bill.
“Today is historic on many fronts. It’s the first time we have voted on a resolution condemning Anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation’s history. Anti-Muslim crimes have increased 99% from 2014-2016 and are still on the rise,” the statement read.
Omar’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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