The United States House of Representatives approved on Thursday a resolution (H. Res. 76) that removes Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The resolution passed by a party-line vote, with Republican members casting all the votes for the resolution and Democratic members casting all the votes cast against it. Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) cast the sole “present” vote.
The outrageous resolution presents as the main rational for removing Omar from the committee the fact that Omar has made critical comments regarding activities of the Israel government and people and organizations that seek to encourage the US government to pursue policies that benefit the Israel government. And, of course, Omar’s comments are labeled anti-Semitic as well — a tried-and-tested smear of people who don’t line up in praise of the Israel government and the US government’s support for it.
What is really being sought through the resolution is suppressing dissent against unwavering US support for the government of Israel. This support is a vehemently proclaimed policy commitment of the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate, though not of the American people.
With Omar kicked off the Foreign Affairs Committee, a likely voice of dissent will be gone during the committee’s legislation review and oversight hearings concerning matters with relation to Israel. Her removal also serves as a warning to other members: You too can be punished for challenging major policy goals of congressional leadership. This is not a recipe for improving legislative and oversight activities in the House. It is a recipe for creating an echo chamber where legislation is swept through and uncomfortable oversight discussion is sidestepped.
Of course, meanwhile, the Foreign Affair Committee remains packed with members who have said things as negative about governments of other nations — Russia, China, Venezuela, Syria, and others — and people and organizations that oppose US policies antagonistic to them. The difference is that those committee members’ statements align with the US government’s, and congressional leadership’s, interventionist policy. A similar thing said in regard these governments as Omar said in regard to the Israel government is viewed as a qualification for committee membership instead of as a reason for removal.
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