Ilhan Omar is a blight on the Democratic Party

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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in 2020
Photo by Gage Skidmore

We have had enough of the self-righteous, ill-informed and antisemitic rhetoric of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Democratic leadership in Congress needs to take meaningful action in response to her relentless and wholly unsupported attacks on Israel and the Jewish people, similar to the decisive action Republicans took in response to the ravings of Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). Democrat inaction on Omar is inexcusable.

The history of Omar’s rants — complete with antisemitic tropes — is well known. But in response, Democrats have been hesitant to do much at all. That soft-gloved approach hasn’t worked. More forceful action is needed.

Omar’s personal history is a testament to the American dream. She is the first Somali American and the first naturalized citizen of African birth to serve in the U.S. Congress. In addition to her pursuit of a progressive domestic agenda, which we respect, she is unrelentingly critical of the state of Israel and supportive of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. And she regularly issues remarkably uninformed statements and accusatory pronouncements against Israel, American Jews and Jewish members of Congress, only to walk them back and invite “dialogue” when challenged.

In her latest outburst, Omar lumped the United States, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban together, claiming each has committed atrocities and should be held accountable for their “crimes against humanity.” A group of Jewish House members criticized her for “equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.” Then, on CNN, Jake Tapper asked Omar if she understands why some of her Democratic House colleagues, “especially Jews,” find some of her statements antisemitic. Her response was outrageous. She said: “I’ve welcomed, you know, anytime my colleagues have asked to have a conversation, to learn from them, for them to learn from me. I think it’s really important for these members to realize that they haven’t been partners in justice. They haven’t been, you know, equally engaging in seeking justice around the world.”

Is Omar really that ignorant?

Writing in Newsweek, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee pointed to a pattern that has followed similar offensive statements by Omar. “First, she (or someone on her behalf) insists she was misunderstood or her comments taken out of context…. Then, rather than debate the merits of the issue, she and her defenders resort to belittling anyone who would question her as a ‘right-winger,’ ‘racist,’ ‘misogynist,’ or ‘Islamophobe.’ Next, she offers vague assurances that she really wants to listen, learn and grow from any possible incidents, offering those who want to move on as swiftly as possible the hope that perhaps this won’t happen again — until, of course, it does.”

We say “Dayenu.” In 2019, Omar was to be censured by Congress for remarks suggesting Jews had dual loyalty to the United States and Israel. Instead, her colleagues blunted the criticism by approving a watered down resolution condemning “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry,” but carefully avoided any mention of Omar by name. That didn’t work.

We call on Democratic leadership to censure Omar for the bigoted, unrepentant antisemite she is, and to sanction her accordingly

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Ilan Omar must be removed from her membership on the House Foreign Relations Committee, or any committee that addresses issues in Israel’s region of the world. The Democratic leadership should just do that, since that addresses the real issue, without providing republicans a diversion from their alliance with strange political bedfellow white supremacists who killed jewish worshippers in the Tree of Life synagogue. Although Omar cannot be trusted with issues or votes related to the security of Israel, unlike a Marjorie Taylor Greene, she is not a threat to american democracy. As a result, I believe that there is a lesser evil and greater evil, and Omar is the lesser one.

  2. Omar is not “ignorant”. Rather, she knows exactly what she is doing with comments that’ve been judged by many to be anti-Semitic.

  3. It is gratifying to read a WJW editorial that helps awaken Jewish youth who are part of the so-called “woke” generation. Without regard to religion, race, ethnicity, gender or political affiliation, whether we are discussing the views of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Peter Beinart , we all must remain vigilant against dyed-in-the-wool antisemites and hold them accountable for their hateful words and deeds. As Zionists, we must be equally vigilant against the cognitive dissonance generated in the liberal Jewish community by Palestinians leaders, whether they represent the PA or Hamas, who are in the business of politicizing and weaponizing die-hard antisemitism in the form of anti-Zionism.

  4. Ooops, almost forgot Linda Sarsour — another infamous proponent of the “New Antisemitism” who has been successful at pulling the wool over the eyes of liberal Jewish Americans and creating disunity and cognitive dissonance within the Jewish community.

  5. The fact is Ilhan Omar is thriving because the goyim never bought the line that she’s an “anti-Semite”. They see Jewish representatives who are her friends, see the anti-Semite charge flung cynically at anyone who is critical of Israel, see that she’s attractive with a winning smile, and see that she didn’t roll over and play dead when an orchestrated hysterical racist Jewish hate campaign complete with death threats was launched against her. WJW will just have to get used to her because she’ll be in Congress as long as she pleases.

  6. No matter how long Jews shriek at her, Congresswoman Omar won’t bend the knee for Israel. An anti-Semite used to be someone who hated Jews. Now, it’s someone whom Jews hate

  7. Dayenu on the sick sport of attacking Ilhan Omar! There are now 5 Jewish members of Congress who unabashedly call her a “friend. (Jan Schakowsky, Andy Levin, John Yarmouth, David Ciccoline, and Dean Phillips). Unlike WJW – they actually know her for the lovely, principled individual she is.

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