Mike Pence says Democrats have been ‘co-opted’ by anti-Semites


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Vice President Mike Pence said that Democrats had been “co-opted” by anti-Semites during an unusually partisan speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

“How things have changed,” Pence said Monday at the lobby’s annual conference. “It’s astonishing to think that the party of Harry Truman, which did so much to create the State of Israel, has been co-opted by people” who express “rank anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

He referred specifically to Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who last month said she felt pressured to pledge “allegiance” to Israel, prompting rebukes from Republicans and some Democrats for invoking the anti-Semitic dual loyalty.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in the Congress of United States of America,” Pence said. “At a minimum, those who slander this historic alliance between the United States and Israel should never have a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives.” That earned Pence a standing ovation.

Democrats, even those who have decried her remarks, have resisted calls to remove Omar from the committee.

Pence also said that eight Democratic candidates for the presidency were boycotting the conference, but AIPAC did not invite the candidates to speak. Also, candidates have generally not made appearances at AIPAC conferences in non-election years since 2007.

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