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US Republican threatens to remove Omar from committee for criticising Israel

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28th, 2022 [Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency]
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28th, 2022 [Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency]

A Republican congressman has threatened to remove Democrat Ilhan Omar from the congressional committee for foreign affairs because of her criticism of the occupation state of Israel. The Progressive Caucus member responded to the threat by Kevin McCarthy by saying that the Republican Party had targeted her ever since she was elected, using fear, xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism, and through a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign.

"Whether it is Marjorie Taylor Greene holding a gun next to my head in campaign ads or Donald Trump threatening to 'send me back' to my country — despite the fact that I have been a proud citizen of the United States for more than 20 years — this constant stream of hate has led to hundreds of death threats and credible plots against me and my family," said Omar. "McCarthy's effort to repeatedly single me out for scorn and hatred — including threatening to strip me from my committee — does nothing to address the issues our constituents deal with."

What it does do is gin up fear and hate against Somali Americans and anyone who shares her identity, she added, and further divides Americans along racial and ethnic lines. "It is a continuation of a sustained campaign against Muslim and African voices, people his party have been trying to ban since Donald Trump first ran for office."

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During an appearance on Fox News programme "Sunday Morning Futures", McCarthy vowed to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Describing Omar's criticism of Israel erroneously as "anti-Semitic", he told the programme host that, "We're not going to allow her to be on Foreign Affairs."

The Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives in January, and McCarthy has been nominated as speaker, although 31 Republicans voted against him. In January he will need 218 votes from members of the chamber to take the role.

Representative Omar said that hatred is behind McCarthy's efforts against her. She noted that he is not doing anything to address core issues such as inflation, health care and climate change.

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