'Absolutely Unacceptable': NYC Mayor de Blasio Blasts Ilhan Omar's Remarks About Israel
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered a pointed rebuke of fellow Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D-Minn.) recent comments about Israel that have been called anti-Semitic and discriminatory.
A reporter asked the Democrat whether he found the freshman lawmaker's remarks anti-Semitic.
"I did," de Blasio responded. "Let me be really clear, suggesting that support for Israel is beholden to a foreign power is absolutely unacceptable and illogical too."
De Blasio said he is a strong supporter of Israel and that he can still be a "proud American" and believe in Israel's sovereignty and existence.
He added that as an Italian-American, he does not feel "beholden to my ancestral homeland" as Omar appeared to characterize some Jewish Americans in regard to Israel.
"Unfortunately it aligns with a history for centuries of that kind of negative comment being thrown at the Jewish community specifically," he said.
De Blasio said that when John F. Kennedy ran for president, critics claimed that as the first Catholic to win the office, he would be "beholden to the Pope."
De Blasio said that characterization was similarly discriminatory against Roman Catholics, and that people like Omar should have a frank discussion with Jewish leaders on why her words are troubling.
Omar recently came under fire for appearing to revisit allegations that Jewish Americans hold dual allegiances to America and Israel.
In another statement via Twitter, she responded "its all about the Benjamins" in regard to political support for Israel.
Speaking Thursday morning to reporters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she doesn't believe Omar "understood the full weight of her words" as a member of Congress.
"I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude, but that she didn't have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people, where these words have a history and a cultural impact that may have been unknown to her," said Pelosi, adding she does not believe Omar is anti-Semitic.