(WASHINGTON, DC.) – Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-08) issued the following statement in response to recent comments made by Representative Ilhan Omar (MN-5):

“I am writing in response to recent statements made by Representative Ilhan Omar (MN) and I welcome her unequivocal apology.

“Like racism, anti-Semitism in any form—whether practiced by a public official or private citizen—is unacceptable and a threat to our progress as a nation and a civilization.  At a time of rising and shocking anti-Semitism, racism, and authoritarianism all over the world, America’s political leaders should be defending universal human rights and equality, social justice, and the imperiled values of the Enlightenment. This is a dangerous moment for freedom and equal rights, and we need our political leaders to promote the highest possible values and standards—not the recycled ideological poisons of the last two centuries.

“I called out President Trump for his blatant and appalling statement in 2017 that there were ‘good people’ in the ranks of neo-Nazi and Klan protesters marching under the Swastika and the Confederate flag in Charlottesville.  I called out the Trump campaign for its thinly disguised anti-Semitic TV ad in 2016 running photos of George Soros, Janet Yellen and Lloyd Blankfein and saying, ‘The Establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election.  For those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests, they partner with these people who don’t have your good in mind.’

“So I of course reject the thinly disguised imputations of dual loyalty or financial subservience to Members of Congress because of their positions on the Middle East and Israel.  I am glad that Representative Omar has apologized. The path of peace and reconciliation we are called to work on is difficult enough without filling the air with such ideologically charged myths.

“We must all strive to rise above the ideological squalor of these times and stand for the ‘beloved community’ that Dr. King advanced. There is no place for racism and anti-Semitism in the progressive movements which have always fought them both.

“It is clear that the Republicans who never sought to reprimand the President of the United States for his appalling Charlottesville statements or for his entanglements with anti-Semites all over the world—including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been running a filthy antisemitic campaign against George Soros—are now eager to denounce Representative Omar for her statements.  But my colleagues across the aisle do the cause of tolerance and justice no favor when they ignore the anti-Semitism and racism in the White House, in their own ranks and in their presidential campaigns.  That naked double standard seems to make the question of prejudice and bigotry wholly partisan and political.  We must judge all expressions of anti-Semitism and racism as a threat to humanity.  I hope President Trump will finally apologize for defending the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville and for the anti-Semitic tropes and myths his campaign has been trafficking in. I hope we see no return of these themes in his 2020 campaign.

“Anti-Semitism and racism have led to fascism and genocide.  We must never forget this history, which is why as a member of the Democratic leadership I have been organizing a trip for the five junior classes to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the evening of Wednesday, February 27th for a tour of the newly-opened special exhibit, Americans and the Holocaust, which details the American response to the Nazi threat and how the U.S. government, private organizations, the media and the public reacted to the rise of fascism and the spread of genocide in Europe.  I hope all of my junior colleagues will join us for the tour.”