Joe Lieberman
Joe LiebermanReuters

Former Senator Joe Lieberman on Wednesday discussed the latest controversy surrounding Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) anti-Semitic statements and the delay in the House vote for a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism.

In an interview with Fox News Channel, Lieberman warned that if the Democratic party continues to delay the resolution to condemn anti-Semitism, they are “going to be held more broadly accountable for having similar feelings.”

“I think it is very important for the House to act and act directly. It sounds like the resolution that they are drafting now which was originally against anti-Semitism all though clearly it was engendered by what Congressman Omar had said is being broadened to be a statement against anti-Muslim bias. Of course, we should make that statement but I think the House could do better,” he said.

“If it was up to me I would say put out a foundational resolution condemning all bigotry and particularly saying if members of the House of Representatives, elected members of Congress get involved in that kind of bigotry they will be specifically condemned by their colleagues who won’t tolerate it. And then pass along another resolution if they want specifically condemning and criticizing Congresswoman Omar for her anti-Semitic comments. That’s the best way to deter the next member of Congress of either party that says something that’s racist or homophobic or anti any religious group,” continued Lieberman.

“Incidentally, Congresswoman Omar's statements clearly do not represent the thinking of most anybody else in office in the Democratic Party. But if they start to mumble in response to her specific and clear anti-Semitic statement, then the party itself is going to be held more broadly accountable for having similar feelings, which I know they don’t,” he added.

“So, again, I say this is a moment of testing, moral testing. Speak clearly about it. Make clear to the congresswoman that she went over the line, it’s unacceptable. And you make clear to the next person who is thinking about expressing some other kind of bigotry that it’s not going to be tolerated.”

Rep. Omar recently came under fire after she suggested on Twitter that Republicans were attacking her at the behest of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.

Democratic leaders blasted Omar for her comments, as did US Jewish groups and President Donald Trump.

Omar subsequently issued a half-hearted apology before ultimately deleting the controversial tweets.

This week she caused another uproar when, at a public event, she appeared to refer to domestic support for Israel as “allegiance to a foreign country”, leading the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives to work on a new resolution condemning anti-Semitism.

Asked for his thoughts surrounding Omar‘s controversial remarks, Lieberman said, “The first thing is that words matter and when people say words that are bias, bigoted and hurtful to another group of people, another group of Americans, they have to be condemned quickly or else it takes hold. I am not only thinking about anti-Semitism, I’m thinking about racism, I’m thinking about any kind of bigotry toward any religious group or any other group.”

He added, “I think this is a time of testing for the House of Representatives. And if I may, it’s really a moral test about how clearly they will speak out, in this case against what Congresswoman Omar said, which was clearly anti-Semitic.”