Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) has defended a 2012 tweet in which she accused Israel of “evil doings” and said that Israel had “hypnotized the world.”
“Those unfortunate words were the only words I could think about expressing at that moment,” Omar said in an interview aired on CNN on Wednesday night.
The tweet was posted during the IDF’s November 2012 operation against Hamas in Gaza.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 16, 2012
“What is really important to me is that people recognize that there is a difference between criticizing a military action by a government that has exercised really oppressive policies and being offensive or attacking to particular people of faith,” said Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress in November.
In March 2018, Omar doubled down on the tweet, saying she was only “drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime”.
Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews. You are a hateful sad man, I pray to Allah you get the help you need and find happiness. https://t.co/SvEXjlxlEN
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 31, 2018
Omar was asked if Jewish Americans “should be worried” about her views because of her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel or tweets such as the one from 2012.
“In that tweet and in any other conversation I’ve had, I only talk about the State of Israel,” Omar said. “And I think it is really important for us to make sure that we are not associating the people with the country and its government.”
In another interview on CNN on Thursday, she again defended the tweets, saying: “I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans”
Prior to her election to Congress in November, Omar lied and said she believes BDS is “counteractive” and said it prevents dialogue, but just a week after her victory she told the Muslim Girl website that she “believes in and supports the BDS movement.”
Meanwhile, a series of top Republicans on Thursday condemned the decision by Democratic leaders to elevate Omar to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, charging that she has a history of making overtly anti-Semitic comments.
“Nancy Pelosi said in 2017 that Congress ‘must’ oppose the BDS movement against Israel,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement, referring to the anti-Israel “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” effort. “Chuck Schumer went even further, calling BDS ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘profoundly biased.’ I would love to know what changed, because Democratic leaders just promoted a pro-BDS Democrat to a key committee that deals with the State of Israel.”
As someone who has seen firsthand the havoc wreaked by war, I am proud to serve on the committee that is responsible for overseeing our country’s—and this President’s—actions abroad.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 17, 2019
Omar has opposed GOP senators’ push for legislation that would permit local and state governments to refuse to work with companies that participate in the BDS movement.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in Congress and certainly not on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. I am deeply disappointed in Speaker Pelosi’s choice, a choice that threatens the Committee’s long history of bipartisan support for Israel,” McCarthy added.
In a separate statement, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., called for Democrats to justify their decision.
“It is disgraceful that Speaker Pelosi and her Democrat majority gave a coveted seat on the House Foreign Relations Committee to a member who has a documented history of making anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks,” Scalise said. “Rather than standing up against the disturbing rise of anti-Semitic rhetoric on the left, House Democrats have now just endorsed that ideology. House Democrats need to address why they are endorsing these views by rewarding Rep. Omar with this important committee seat.”
Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, who as House Republican Conference Chair is the No. 3 Republican in the House, echoed that rhetoric. “The House Democrat Leadership should immediately condemn Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli views,” Cheney said. “Anti-Semitism can never be allowed to stand, in any form or forum. It is shameful for it to be ignored by the Democrat leadership in the House.”
(Nat Golden – YWN)