US congresswoman Ilhan Omar removed from foreign affairs panel over Israel remarks

Ilhan Omar. [File Photo]

The US House of Representatives on Thursday  voted to oust a controversial Democrat from a powerful committee over her past comments on Israel. The move has been seen by her party chiefs as revenge for their previous removal of far-right Republicans.

A former refugee from Somalia and one of two Muslim women in Congress, Omar has been a target of Racism and Islamophobia since she took office.

Republican lawmakers said Omar engaged in “anti-Semitic” and “anti-Israel” rhetoric that disqualified her from serving on the foreign policy panel.

Speaking for herself in floor remarks ahead of the vote, Omar said that “this debate today is about who gets to be an American.”

“There is this idea that you are suspect if you are an immigrant, or if you are from certain parts of the world, of a certain skin tone, or a Muslim.”

“Is anyone surprised I’m being targeted?” Omar asked. “Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy? Frankly, it is expected, because when you push power, power pushes back.”

The congresswoman ended her speech on a defiant note, declaring, “I didn’t come to Congress to be silent… My leadership and voice will not diminish if I am not on this committee for one term.”

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