Ms Ocasio-Cortez embraces Ms Omar during a press conference in February ( EPA )
Prominent progressives including Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have come to the defence of Representative Ilhan Omar amid controversy following her criticism of pro-Israel groups and politicians, which some have deemed anti-semitic.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has suggested that Ms Omar may not have understood the full weight of what she was saying at the time.
“I don’t think that the congresswoman perhaps appreciates the full weight of how it was heard by other people, although I don’t believe it was intended in any anti-Semitic way,” Ms Pelosi said on Thursday during a press briefing.
Mr Sanders, who is Jewish, said that he believes the attacks on Ms Omar are aimed at silencing discussion of American foreign policy with regards to Israel.
“What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate,” Mr Sanders, who is top democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement. “That’s wrong.”
:: Read everything you need to know about the controversy surrounding Ms Omar’s statements right here::
Ms Ocasio-Cortez claimed that the attacks on Ms Omar illustrate the hypocrisy in Congress surrounding questions of racism or anti-semitism.
“One of the things that is hurtful about the extent to which reprimand is sought of Ilhan is that no one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx + other communities (during the shutdown, a GOP member yelled ‘Go back to Puerto Rico!’ on the floor),” Ms Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
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She continued: “It’s not my position to tell people how to feel, or that their hurt is invalid.
“But incidents like these do beg the question: where are the resolutions against homophobic statements? For anti-blackness? For xenophobia? For a member saying he’ll ‘send Obama home to Kenya?’”