Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday defended Rep. Ilhan Omar, arguing the freshman Democrat was unaware of the anti-Semitic meaning behind her words.
“I don’t think our colleague is anti-Semitic,” Mrs. Pelosi said at The Economic Club. “She has a different experience in the use of words, doesn’t understand that some of them are fraught with meaning that she didn’t realize.”
Democrats were forced to reckon with accusations of anti-Semitism this week after Ms. Omar suggested that lawmakers who defended Israel were guilty of dual allegiance.
Last month, Ms. Omar drew ire for suggesting that pro-Israel groups bribed and bought support from American lawmakers.
Mrs. Pelosi also defended her leadership team’s decision to expand the resolution to include language against Islamophobia and bigotry against a handful of minority groups.
Some members of the Democratic caucus, despite ultimately voting for the resolution, wanted it to remain focused on anti-Semitism and the tropes they say Ms. Omar used.
“I don’t think it watered down anti-Semitic language at all,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “It isn’t about anybody who hates anybody, it’s about people who act upon their hatred and that is what we have no place for.”
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