(CNN) Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris on Wednesday defended Rep. Ilhan Omar against the backlash to her comments slamming pro-Israel groups and politicians, which have been called anti-Semitic.
Sanders, who is Jewish, said criticism of Omar and efforts to get her taken off the House Foreign Affairs Committee, primarily from House Republicans, are aimed at stopping a discussion about American’s foreign policy toward Israel.
“What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate,” the Vermont independent said in a statement. “That’s wrong.”
In her own statement, Harris called out all instances of bigotry and expressed concern that the focus on Omar “may put her at risk.”
“We all have a responsibility to speak out against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and all forms of hatred and bigotry,” the California Democrat said.
“But like some of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk,” she added.