Minneapolis U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar is facing criticism from House Republicans over comments she made at Columbia University last week as tensions escalate over the war in Gaza.

Omar, a progressive Democrat and vocal supporter of Palestinians, visited an encampment on the college campus, telling a reporter from Fox 5 New York that she met Jewish students at the protest and "all Jewish kids should be kept safe."

She added that "we should not have to tolerate antisemitism or bigotry for all Jewish students, whether they are pro-genocide or anti-genocide." Republicans in the House have lashed out at Omar for calling some Jewish students "pro-genocide," and she could again face a GOP-led motion to censure her.

GOP House Majority Whip and fellow Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer criticized Omar on Tuesday, accusing her of "encouraging violence against Jewish students."

"Omar has joined the likes of Hamas and Iran with her endorsement of the pro-terrorist, antisemitic protests happening at colleges across the country," Republican House Majority Whip Tom Emmer posted to X on Tuesday. "Not exactly good company."

Jacklyn Rogers, a spokesperson for Omar, said in a statement that the congresswoman "clearly condemned antisemitism and bigotry for all Jewish students."

"Attempts to misconstrue her words by drafting this baseless resolution are meant to distract from the ongoing violence and genocide occurring in Gaza and the large antiwar protests happening across our country and around the world," Rogers said.

Omar's daughter Isra Hirsi is a student activist who was arrested and suspended from college for participating in pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia University.

Some lawmakers have stepped in to defend Omar, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who told CNN that the "essential point that Ilhan made is that we do not want to see antisemitism in this country."

Republicans removed Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over past anti-Israel comments shortly after taking over Congress. GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene brought a censure motion against Omar in February following mistranslated remarks in which she talked about her support for Somali Americans. That measure was never voted on.

GOP Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska also announced this week that he is working on a separate resolution to censure Omar following her latest remarks.

However, his office could not provide a timeline on when he plans to formally introduce the resolution, nor a copy of it.

"We intend to (introduce a resolution). Her reference to pro-genocide Jewish students is blaming them for Israel's actions and is creating a hostile environment for these students. It is antisemitism. We need to defend our students from this hate," Bacon said in a statement to the Star Tribune.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said he has yet to speak with Bacon about the resolution. He called Omar's remarks "detestable" during a press conference Tuesday alongside House Republican leadership, including Emmer.

"She's on exactly the wrong side of the issue," Johnson said of Omar.


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