Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) accused her “Jewish colleagues” for attacking her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for labeling every criticism of theirs as anti-Israel because of the faith of the two congresswomen.
Omar also accused critics of demonstrating dual-loyalty, which is an anti-Semitic trope.
“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 at a panel discussion on Wednesday evening at the left-wing activist cafe Busboys and Poets in the nation’s capital.
Jewish Insider first reported this development.
“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,’” said Omar.
“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,” she continued. “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.”
Omar added, “So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
The accusation of dual loyalty is a classic anti-Semitic trope that Tlaib also used in January to accuse Republican lawmakers and opponents of the anti-Israel BDS movement by saying “they forgot what country they represent.”
During the event, a member of the audience shouted “It is about the Benjamins,” evoking laughter and cheer, referring to Omar’s now-deleted Twitter post blaming the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the largest pro-Israel lobbying organization, of paying members of Congress to back Israel.
“To this, Reps. Omar and Tlaib both smiled along furtively,” reported Jewish Insider.
Moreover, Omar compared Israel to South Africa during apartheid: “So I know many [Members of Congress] were fighting for people to be free, for people to live in dignity in South Africa. … So I know that they care about these things. But now that you have two Muslims who are saying, here is a group of people that we want to make sure that they have the dignity that you want everybody else to have, we get to be called names and we get to be labeled as hateful. No we know what hate looks like!”
The Jewish Democratic Council of America and Democratic Majority for Israel condemned Omar’s latest anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks.
“We reject the parallels Representative Omar has repeatedly drawn between Israel and apartheid South Africa,” said the group in a statement. “We also want to make clear to both Reps. Omar and Tlaib that our denunciation of their recent tweets was completely unrelated to their religion.”
“We celebrate the diversity of Democrats in 116th Congress, but unequivocally oppose the use of anti-Semitic tropes,” they added. “We would have condemned such tweets from any member of Congress, regardless of their party or background.”
“Just days after apologizing for using an anti-Semitic trope, in a statement that was broadly condemned by Democrats and Democratic leadership, Congresswoman Omar is at it again,” said DMI co-chair and former Clinton White House communications director Ann Lewis. “Omar’s statement equating support for the U.S.-Israel relationship to ‘allegiance to a foreign country,’ an accusation of dual loyalty, is among the oldest and most dangerous anti-Semitic charges.”
She continued, saying, “This reckless rhetoric should be beneath a member of the United States Congress. If Congresswoman Omar is not attacking American supporters of the American-Israel alliance, she should say so.”