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Opinion: Rep. Ilhan Omar Is Not Anti-Semitic for Criticizing Israel

Carrie Boike | Posted on March 06, 2019

Ilhan Omar

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We need to be able to debate Israeli military and government action without being accused of anti-semitism.

In February, when Ilhan Omar, the Democratic Representative from Minnesota, said members of the U.S. Congress support Israel because of money, she was accused of insinuating vile stereotypes about Jewish people and money. But Omar has criticized the fossil fuel industry and the NRA for being motivated by money, and only her comments about Israel have ignited controversy.

Opinion: Rep. Ilhan Omar is not anti-Semitic for criticizing Israel

Omar has since apologized for the unbeknown stereotypes in her comments. The question is, where is this near hysterical outrage for a few well-intended comments coming from? Do we need to spend energy dragging Omar for statements that she was unaware would be interpreted as anti-semitic?

Omar made a valid point when she voiced her concern that, perhaps colleagues have accused her and congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of anti-semitism because they are Muslim. Are the accusations themselves not arguably weighted with Islamophobia?

Since being elected to Congress, Omar has suffered threats against her life because of her faith, and a recent poster displayed in the West Virginia statehouse associated her with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

I truly do not believe Omar is anti-semitic. If she were, I would not support her.

There is a difference between criticizing the actions of the Israeli government, and hatred towards Jewish people. Omar continues to defend her views and rejects claims of anti-semitism. Democrats should not be expected to have blind loyalty to Israel, especially when so many Democratic and progressive constituents oppose the country’s actions.

So online columnists can call her a disaster and attention-seeker all they want, but in the coming years, Omar will be viewed as the first of many progressive voices, unafraid to criticize the unjust actions and human rights abuses committed against Palestinian people.

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