In one of the more bizarre, inept, and utterly insulting defenses of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., following her anti-Semitic comments, one Democratic leader said her life experiences are “more personal” than those of descendants of holocaust survivors.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said that Omar’s experiences of being a refugee from Somalia and having lived in a Kenyan refugee camp for four years should be factored into the discussion as context.
“I’m serious about that. There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’ It’s more personal with her,” Clyburn told The Hill in a story published Thursday morning. “I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.”
Fleeing one’s home country and living in a refugee camp are not easy to go through, but is the House majority whip really suggesting that it’s an excuse for pushing anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories about Jewish people? What, then, is the level of hardship that one has to experience in order to get a free pass on other forms of bigotry?
Jewish Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., responded to Clyburn’s comments on social media, calling them “disgusting” and saying that the whip was “spitting on graves, making light of the Holocaust & minimizing its massive importance/impact on victims’ families & the world.”
This is disgusting @WhipClyburn, spitting on graves, making light of the Holocaust & minimizing its massive importance/impact on victims' families & the world. 6 MILLION Jews & MILLIONS of others were MURDERED! #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/LabEqwKOWD
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) March 7, 2019
Following controversy over his remarks, Clyburn’s office put out a statement saying: “To recognize and honor the experiences of one member of our Caucus does not mean that we ignore or dishonor the experiences of another.”
We can be no more or any less than what those experiences allow us to be.
To recognize and honor the experiences of one member of our Caucus does not mean that we ignore or dishonor the experiences of another. pic.twitter.com/YdzGPFoQk6
— James E. Clyburn (@WhipClyburn) March 7, 2019