On Thursday the polarized House ousted Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, from the Foreign Affairs Committee over past comments about Israel that were widely condemned as antisemitic.
The 218 to 211 vote for ouster, with one member voting “present, was not unexpected.
It settled a bitter partisan score that has been brewing since 2021, when the House, then controlled by Democrats, stripped Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona of their committee assignments for social media posts in which they endorsed violence against Democrats.
The removal of Ms. Omar delivered on a threat that Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California made at the time to retaliate if his party took the House majority by removing Democrats whom Republicans regarded as unfit to serve on committees. Last week, he unilaterally removed Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California, from the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where membership is appointed and thus not subject to a vote.
Mr. McCarthy’s decision to force the removal of Ms. Omar, a step that some of his rank-and-file resisted, in the earliest days of his new majority demonstrated his determination to ingratiate himself with the hard-right Republican base, which has made the Somali-born Ms. Omar a target for some of its most vicious attacks. It was also a bid to curry favor with pro-Israel groups and evangelical voters and to drive a wedge among Democrats, many of whom had condemned her comments.
In 2019, Ms. Omar drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike for tweeting that certain pro-Israel groups were “all about the Benjamins, baby,” appearing to reference hundred-dollar bills in what was seen as invoking an antisemitic trope about Jews being greedy, a comment for which she later apologized. Two years later, Ms. Omar seemingly equated “atrocities” carried out by the United States military to those committed by terrorist groups like the Taliban and Hamas; she later said she had not meant to compare them, but her disclaimer was not enough to appease Republicans.
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