Lee Zeldin, a Jewish Republican from New York, Tuesday dismissed Rep. Ilhan Omar’s apology over recent Israel remarks as insincere and ‘problematic.’
Omar apologized Monday for comments in which she implied that a prominent pro-Israel lobby compensated lawmakers for their support of the Jewish state, but insisted on what she called “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics.”
“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”
I don’t take it as a real, sincere apology
However, the controversial freshman Democrat added: “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee], the [National Rifle Association] or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”
Speaking to Fox and Friends on Tuesday morning, Rep. Zeldin questioned how much the apology means.
“Her apology comes across as, you know, sorry not sorry from Demi Lovato. I don’t take it as a real, sincere apology,” he said.
Zeldin then attacked “anti-Semitic” and “anti-Israel hate” that he said is “infiltrating American politics.”
“It’s infiltrating the halls of Congress. You can’t empower that. You can’t elevate it. You have to confront it and you have to crush it, or it will just continue to grow legs. We’ll see it more and more, like a cancer across our country.”
The Republican Rep. also highlighted a perceived Democrat double standard in how party members reacted to Omar’s comments and those of Steve King last month.
“Just last month, you had House Democrats tripping all over each other, running to the floor of the House of Representatives to condemn white supremacy in a resolution that named Congressman Steve King. He apologized. He was still thrown off his committee assignments.
“And now, we have those same members – many of them tripping over each other, running away from the House floor, so they don’t have to condemn anti-Semitism.”