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Chairman Of House Foreign Affairs Committee: 'Retribution' Is Not How To Get Rep. Omar To See Error Of Her Ways

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) -- Congresswoman Ilhan Omar will not lose her position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee despite calls that she step down for controversial comments about pro-Israel groups.

Several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called her comments anti-Semitic.

New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the chairman of the committee, issued a statement saying booting Omar: "will not solve the problem of anti-Semitism" and would merely be "retribution."

MORELocal Democrats Rip Rep. Ilhan Omar After More Anti-Semitic Comments, House Considers Condemnation

The controversy erupted over the weekend. Congresswoman Nita Lowey got into a Twitter war with Omar over comments the freshman congresswoman from Minnesota made, which many considered to be an attack on Jews.

Rep. Ilhan Omar
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks during a news conference at the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. The House Democrat freshmen held a news conference to call on Congress "to cut funding for President Trump's deportation force." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Omar tweeted "I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee." The Somali-American politician was allegedly referring to, and criticizing, America's continued support of Israel.

Lowey demanded the statement be retracted, and Omar was also blasted by fellow Democrats Jerrold Nadler and Engel.

Republicans joined in the outrage.

"This is an attack on the Jewish people, and if we learned anything over the last century, it's the evils of anti-Semitism and where it can lead," Rep. Peter King of Long Island said. "We saw it with the holocaust. We see it in Europe and other places in the world. It's rising anti-Semitism. We can't allow it in the United States Congress."

Omar has already been forced to apologize after she faced backlash for previous tweets condemned by both sides of the aisle as anti-Semitic. She's suggested Republican support of Israel is fueled by donations from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent pro-Israel group.

MORE: Tri-State Democrats Slam Tweets By Rep. Ilhan Omar, Denounce Them As Anti-Semitic

Last month, she tweeted "it's all about the Benjamins" and then "AIPAC."

Critics had said Democrats should take away Omar's major committee assignment.

"I am absolutely convinced she should be taken off the Foreign Affairs Committee… the Foreign Affairs Committee is America's face to the world," Rep. King explained.

House Democrats are now struggling with how to declare they are against bigotry, bias and racism after progressives challenged an effort to rebuke freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar for her remarks on Israel.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged during a closed meeting on Wednesday that her caucus faces "internal issues" that require "a clearer understanding of what our purpose is as a caucus," a knowledgeable Democratic aide told The Associated Press. Pelosi cautioned Democrats not to question each other's motivation or patriotism.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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