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Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee over her mocking pro-Israel US politicians

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Representative Ilhan Omar walks to her office after being ousted by the Republican-lead House of Representatives from the House's Foreign Affairs Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, February 2, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Republicans in the US House of Representatives have voted to oust Ilhan Omar from a high-profile House committee over the Muslim lawmaker's mocking of American politicians for their unwarranted support of the Israeli regime in exchange for financial rewards. 

The measure was passed 218-211 on Thursday, removing the Somali-born legislator from the House's Foreign Affairs Committee.

Those voting in favor of Omar's elimination from the committee cited a 2019 tweet by her that had read, "It's all about the Benjamins, baby."

The tweet referred to Benjamin Franklin's picture on $100 bills as means of suggesting that those, who supported the Israeli regime across the American political spectrum, were motivated by money.

Omar's detractors have rated the tweet as "antisemitic," but she herself has said those who have been plotting against her could not tolerate the presence of Muslims in Congress and were also acting out of "xenophobia and racism."

She has, on many occasions, harshly criticized the pro-Israeli US politicians across the bicameral legislature by describing the occupying entity as an "apartheid" regime and decrying its war crimes against Palestinians.

Omar has also criticized the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for its role in shaping US policy.

Separately, she said in the past that US forces and those of other nations should be held to the same standards of accountability when their actions hurt or kill civilians.

Addressing Congress before the vote, Omar said that her attackers would not be capable of silencing her. "My leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee ... my voice will get louder and stronger," she said.

"I am a Muslim, I'm an immigrant and, interestingly, I'm from Africa," the 40-year-old added. 

"Is anyone surprised that I'm being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy?"

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat, told reporters before the vote that the measure against Omar had to do with "political revenge" for Democrats' removing Republicans Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene from their committee assignments after highly controversial behavior by the duo in 2021.

Greene had told Congress in the past, following Omar and Representative Rashida Tlaib, another Muslim congresswoman, that "Muslims are infiltrating Congress." Gosar had posted a video on social media showing him appearing to kill another House member, Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez, herself, addressed the debate on Omar's ouster from the House committee that "this (the vote) is about targeting women of color in the United States of America."‌

Tlaib and Omar, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, are outspoken critics of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and vocal supporters of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement. The two called “Israel” an “apartheid state” guilty of war crimes.

In May 2021, Omar condemned US President Joe Biden for siding with Israel’s oppressive occupation of Palestine and carrying out atrocities against Palestinians.

In April 2019, Omar angered then-US President Donald Trump for highlighting Israeli apartheid crimes against Palestinians.

“She’s been very disrespectful to this country. She’s been very disrespectful, frankly, to Israel,” Trump said in defense of the Israeli regime back then.

The congresswoman remains among a minority of US lawmakers who strongly oppose an apartheid regime in Occupied Palestine. She is outspoken against the US selling of arms abroad, and fiercely opposes gun laws in the country that allow the purchase of military combat weapons by any individual over the age of 18 with a little background check. 

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