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Rep. Josh Gottheimer. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Gottheimer gets Omar to sign onto pro-Israel resolution

All N.J. Dems vote against ousting Omar from Foreign Affairs committee

By Joey Fox, February 02 2023 1:33 pm

Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), long at the opposite poles of their party on the subject of Israel, have come together on a resolution condemning antisemitism and affirming the legitimacy of the Israeli state.

“It is no secret that, over the years, I have been unabashedly critical about Congresswoman Omar’s past comments,” Gottheimer said in a statement. “But, it is an enormous step forward that Congresswoman Omar has signed onto this congressional resolution in support of Israel as a Jewish and legitimate democratic state, that acknowledges Israel as a vital ally, and that condemns the use of antisemitic tropes, including those masquerading as anti-Israel sentiments.”

Omar has been a lightning rod for criticism during her time in the House, both for her general left-wing policy positions and for her specific comments on the Israeli government. Some of her statements have tilted into antisemitic territory, drawing condemnation from Republicans as well as Democrats like Gottheimer.

Such statements culminated in a party-line House vote today removing Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, with Gottheimer and all other present Democrats opposing her ouster. The move was strongly supported by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who argued Omar’s presence on the committee undermines the U.S.-Israel relationship.

In his statement released before the vote was held, Gottheimer warned that removing Omar would set a bad precedent.

“Removing a member of Congress for inciting violence is appropriate,” he said. “However, removing a member for having different viewpoints – even ones I strongly oppose – violates the entire basis of our democracy. After all, what if next year, a member of Congress targets me for my unshakable commitment to the U.S.-Israel relationship?”

Five New Jersey Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors: Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), Robert J. Menendez (D-Jersey City), Donald Payne (D-Newark), Donald Norcross (D-Camden), and Mikie Sherrill (D-Monclair).  

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