House Majority Leader takes jab at Rep. Omar

House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer at AIPAC conference: When someone accuses American supporters of dual loyalty, I say: accuse me.

Elad Benari,

Steny Hoyer
Steny Hoyer
Reuters

House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) issued a strong rebuke of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and her anti-Semitic remarks in a speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference on Sunday.

“I am not Jewish, nor do I do represent a large Jewish constituency. But I have visited Israel fifteen times, and I have seen the courage of its people and their enduring spirit to make their country flourish,” he said.

"I stand with Israel, proudly and unapologetically. So when someone accuses American supporters of dual loyalty, I say: accuse me," added Hoyer, hinting at comments by Omar, who appeared to refer to domestic support for Israel as “allegiance to a foreign country”.

"Millions of Americans, regardless of race or faith or partisan label, stand with Israel because they understand why our relationship with Israel is so important,” he continued.

"Together, we cherish dissent and value criticism of leaders and policies. That’s a good thing. It’s what makes our democracies stronger."

"However, what weakens us is when, instead of engaging in legitimate debate about policies, someone questions the motives of his or her fellow citizens or tries to silence others through exclusion, disenfranchisement, or fear,” stated Hoyer.

"Israel,” he stressed, “remains a beachhead of freedom and representative government. In Israel’s democracy, where rule of law is upheld and freedom of expression is assured, Americans see a mirror image of our own."

"This is where AIPAC plays such a critical role. You are the educators and informers about Israel’s complexity and commitment to democracy. So, let’s have debates on policy instead of impugning the loyalty of Israel’s supporters,” he continued.

Hoyer blasted the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, calling it “a front for delegitimizing the Jewish people’s right to self-determination."

"I’ve been proud to help lead efforts in Congress to push back against the BDS movement. And I will push for a bipartisan resolution that puts Congress on record that BDS must be condemned,” he vowed.

Hoyer announced that he will lead the “largest delegation ever” of freshmen US lawmakers to Israel, adding that “they will see first-hand the threats and challenges faced by Israel and its people as well as their extraordinary courage and achievements."

"Yes, we stand with Israel – because we stand for America’s security. Yes, we stand with Israel – because we stand for freedom. Yes, we stand with Israel – because we reject bigotry and prejudice. Yes, we stand with Israel because we abhor the violence directed throughout the millennia at our Jewish brothers and sisters. Yes, we stand with Israel because we respect their courage, resilience, and refusal to be forced out of the land of their ancestors,” he continued.

“And yes, we stand with Israel – because we are loyal Americans, patriots who believe it is in America’s interest that Israel remains strong and free and supported as a place of refuge from the haters of the world.”




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