A Democratic New York lawmaker appeared to take a swipe at two of his colleagues when he said on a podcast Thursday that leftists extremists “weren’t his cup of tea” when it comes to Israel.
Rep. Eliot Engel, the char of the House Foreign Affairs Committee was speaking to the American Jewish Committee’s “Passport” podcast.
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“There are a handful of people that aren’t my cup of tea, but we have to transcend that and we will, and we have been,” Engel said.
Though he didn’t mention them by name, Engel’s comments came amid controversy over remarks made by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who has been embroiled in a series of controversies since taking office in January, including being accused of making anti-Semitic comments.
Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have both supported Omar.
In February, Omar was accused of using an anti-Semitic stereotype to suggest that Jewish lobbying groups are buying political support. The lawmaker didn’t mention Omar or her controversy by name during his interview.
“It’s not that Israel can’t be criticized. It’s just, I know when things are anti-Semitic, being Jewish, I have a feeling … we all know it when we see it,” he said.
On Monday, Engel denied that his comments last week had been aimed at his Democratic colleagues and blasted the New York Post suggesting that they were.
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“This is absolutely not true. I never once said a colleague ‘wasn’t my cup of tea.’ I wasn’t even asked about my colleagues. The NY Post should be ashamed of this phony story, which is only trying to sow discord,” he said.