All Michigan House members vote for measure against anti-Semitism, bigotry

    Ilhan Omar | Flickr

    All 14 members of Michigan’s U.S. House delegation on Thursday voted for a resolution decrying anti-Semitism, racism and anti-Muslim bigotry.

    House Resolution 183 originally was sparked by several comments from U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who is one of the first Muslim women in Congress, that many condemned as anti-Semitic. Most recently she said supporters of Israel had “allegiance to a foreign country.”

    U.S. Capitol | Creative Commons

    Some Democrats joined Republicans in criticizing Omar. Others defended her and brought up bigoted and anti-Semitic statements from Republicans, including U.S. Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

    Republicans had hoped to exploit Democratic divisions and embarrass the majority with the resolution. However, the final version was broad-based and didn’t mention Omar.

    “It’s not about her,” U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said Thursday.

    The resolution passed 407-23 with only Republicans voting “no.” Several reporters expressed befuddlement on Twitter at Republicans’ actions, including Matt Fuller of the Huffington Post.

    The opening sentence of the measure was: “Condemning anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values and aspirations that define the people of the United States and condemning anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States.”

    Charlottesville, Va., “Unite the Right” rally | Wikimedia Commons

    The resolution went on to call out the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and a series of hate crimes.

    U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), who joined Omar in making history as a fellow Muslim woman serving in the body, issued a statement after the vote along with Omar and U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.):

    “Today is historic on many fronts. It’s the first time we have voted on a resolution condemning Anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation’s history. Anti-Muslim crimes have increased 99 percent from 2014-2016 and are still on the rise.

    “We are tremendously proud to be part of a body that has put forth a condemnation of all forms of bigotry including anti-Semitism, racism, and white supremacy. At a time when extremism is on the rise, we must explicitly denounce religious intolerance of all kinds and acknowledge the pain felt by all communities. Our nation is having a difficult conversation and we believe this is great progress.”

    Rashida Tlaib, January 2019 | MPAC National photo, Flickr

    U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) said she couldn’t support the first version of the resolution because it “did not strike” the balance needed.

    “We will not be divided by fear and hatred. Anti-Semitism is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by me or others in the Congress. Equally as unacceptable is Islamophobic rhetoric that threatens many of my Muslim neighbors and is far too common today,” she said. “I voted in favor of the resolution on the House floor because of those reasons. The first resolution which was circulated did not strike this balance, which is why I could not support it and worked with my colleagues to change it.”

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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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