WASHINGTON, DC, MARCH 7, 2019—A broad coalition of Jewish, Muslim and progressive grassroots organizations welcome the resolution introduced by House Democratic leadership that condemns all forms of bigotry. The language of the resolution was originally intended to rebuke Representative Ilhan Omar and essentially shut down efforts to advocate for Palestinian human rights. But following immense pressure from coalition partners the language was broadened and no longer singled out Rep. Omar for her valid criticism. Coalition partners generated a flood of phone calls, emails, held a press conference and delivered a letter calling on the Democratic leadership to condemn real bigotry and drop the politically-motivated and bad-faith attacks on Rep. Omar.
“We commend and applaud coalition partners and the over 850 leaders nationwide who joined us to pressure the US House leadership. Our collective efforts made this change possible and defeated the campaign to smear and silence Rep. Omar,” said Ahmed Bedier, President of United Voices and coalition convener.
“We are a movement that unequivocally rejects anti-semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism and all forms of bigotry and expect the same from Democratic leadership. It’s a new day where we no longer will accept attacks on our free speech and stifling of necessary debate on Israeli government policies against Palestinians. Let’s get back to work against the rise of white nationalism that threatens all of our communities, and build a government and policies that respects every resident of this nation,” said Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of MPower Change and National Organizer with the Women’s March.
“We welcome changes to the resolution made in response to criticism by grassroots coalitions and voices of conscience within the House. Thankfully we are entering a new era in American public discourse where criticism of U.S. foreign policy towards Israel will not immediately be stifled by disingenuous accusations of antisemitism,” said Council on American-Islamic Relations National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
Coalition organizations attribute this victory to the quick and vast mobilization of support for Congresswoman Omar by progressive organizations, individuals, and members of Congress spanning intersectional social justice struggles. Progressive organizations are bolstered that the popular support for Congresswoman Omar has triumphed over special interest groups in Washington DC that were part of the efforts behind the politically-motivated charges of antisemitism.
“While valid criticism of Netanyahu, AIPAC, and Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians are being falsely attacked as antisemitism, threats by white supremacists are continuing. And we all know who white supremacists have their sights set on: Black people, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and more. We’re happy to see a resolution that condemns real bigotry rather than going after Rep. Ilhan Omar and her vision of a world free of racism and oppression,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, Deputy Director, Jewish Voice for Peace.
“This resolution is an important improvement which does more to capture the spirit of fighting all forms of oppression. It is a travesty that Democrats aimed to target on one of their own colleagues—the most progressive voice among them who is also a Black Muslim refugee woman—in this moment of heightened racism embodied in the politics of Donald Trump and the white supremacists he has enabled. Justice is indivisible, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first said and Angela Davis recently reminded us. Palestinian rights are a natural part of progressive politics that uphold freedom, justice, and equality for all. The sooner the Democratic leadership catches up to Rep. Omar and their base in realizing this, the better,” said Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR).
“While some in Washington attempted to take Rep. Ilhan Omar’s valid criticism out of context and attribute malicious intent to her words, the debate over the resolution—and fierce pushback particularly among progressives—shows that there is a critical mass of Democrats and other citizens who are no longer beholden to the dominant narrative on Israel and Palestine” said Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, Executive Director of American Muslims for Palestine.
“We, as progressives, Muslims, Palestinians, will not be silent while racism and Islamophobia is exhibited on both sides of the aisle. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is the most consistent and vocal anti-war critic of U.S. empire, not a token, and certainly not at anyone’s disposal. Within 24 hours, grassroots organizers proved that we are in a new era of progressive for Palestine when we mobilized on a national level to ensure that many disenfranchised communities were included in the resolution and that Rep. Omar would not be singled out. All this against the backdrop of centuries of violence against Black and brown communities and against women of color, especially ones who dare to speak truth to power. As a Black Muslim Woman in hijab, Rep. Omar is exponentially more prone to violence, and marginalizing her moreover feeds into the GOP’s racist and white supremacist agenda. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is the truly progressive voice we all need,” said Rasha Mubarak, Vice President of the Muslim Women’s Organization.
The coalition of organizations support and echo statements made by many other members of Congress, such as Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who said yesterday: “I always have and always will stand in opposition to any and all forms of hatred and discrimination, including white supremacy, racism, transphobia, ableism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia– there is no hierarchy of hurt.” Indeed, we celebrate this new political moment where there is not a hierarchy of hurt and all forms of bigotry are equally condemned.