Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) pushed back Wednesday against the rash of anti-Semitism accusations that have been leveled against her since she was elected, suggesting her “Jewish colleagues” and others may use accusations of bigotry to chill debate over U.S. policy toward Israel.
“What I’m fearful of — because Rashida and I are Muslim — that a lot of our Jewish colleagues, a lot of our constituents, a lot of our allies, go to thinking that everything we say about Israel to be anti-Semitic because we are Muslim,” said Omar, who was joined at the “Progressive Townhall” event in Washington, D.C. by fellow freshman representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.).
“To me, it’s something that becomes designed to end the debate because you get in this space of – yes, I know what intolerance looks like and I’m sensitive when someone says, ‘The words you used Ilhan are resemblance of intolerance,’” [sic] Omar continued. “And I am cautious of that and I feel pained by that. But it’s almost as if, every single time we say something regardless of what it is we say . . . we get to be labeled something. And that ends the discussion. Because we end up defending that and nobody ever gets to have the broader debate of what is happening with Palestine.”
Ilhan Omar & Rashida Tlaib have a history of anti-Semitism.
Both still proudly support a boycott of Israel.
But according to Omar, their “Jewish colleagues” are the problem and only call them out “because Rashida and I are Muslim.”pic.twitter.com/nOxkzpxlwz
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) February 28, 2019
Omar trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes long before being elected, as evidenced by a years-old tweet in which she accused Israel of “hypnotizing the world,” and has continued that pattern in recent months despite an onslaught of criticism from lawmakers and pundits across the ideological spectrum.
Weeks after apologizing for endorsing the notion that Israel “hypnotized the world,” Omar, in a since-deleted tweet, attributed her colleagues’ support for the state of Israel to the “Benjamins,” or hundred-dollar bills, donated by wealthy Jewish donors and organizations.
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) February 26, 2019
Omar apologized for the tweet earlier this month after Democratic and Republican leaders called on her to do so. But, on Wednesday night, when an audience member yelled “It’s all about the Benjamins” in reference to the tweet, Omar and Tlaib smiled, The Jewish Insider noted.