Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar Slammed by Jewish Human Rights Group Over ‘Extreme Anti-Semitic Statements’

Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib become first Muslim women in US Congress
AFP Kerem Yucel
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim women elected to Congress, were the subjects of a complaint filed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over their “extreme anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements.”

The Jewish human rights group slammed Tlaib for remarks she made earlier this month accusing proponents of the so-called anti-BDS bill of forgetting which country they represent. The Center called it a “cynically alleged ‘dual loyalty’ screed, historically a dog whistle for anti-Semites.”

Tlaib blasted the Senate legislation initiated by Senator Marco Rubio and Senator James Risch, which protects states that ban Israel boycotts.

“They forgot what country they represent,” tweeted Tlaib. “This is the US where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality.”

In their letter to Pelosi, rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center also lambasted Tlaib for endorsing a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an outcome that would spell the end of the Jewish state by demographic means and one that has never been supported by the U.S.

“Congressperson Tlaib has every right to be proud that she came to this country as a refugee and has every right to advocate for the rights of Palestinians,” said the letter. “But Speaker Pelosi, as the leader of the Democratic Party, you should make clear that a one-state solution is a code word for the destruction of the state of Israel — home to the world’s largest Jewish population — and violates everything you and your father have spent your lives defending.”

Hier and Cooper also took Minnesota Democrat Omar to task for defending an earlier tweet calling Israel “evil” and saying she couldn’t understand why American Jews would be upset by such rhetoric.

“Those unfortunate words were the only words I could think about expressing at that moment,” Omar told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview aired last week.

The tweet was posted during Israel’s operation against Hamas in 2012 and read: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

In light of her support of the BDS movement and such tweets, Amanpour asked the Minnesota congresswoman if Jewish Americans “should be worried.”

“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.

“In that tweet and in any other conversation I’ve had, I only talk about the State of Israel,” Omar added. “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.”

Prior to being elected to Congress in November, Omar described the BDS movement as “counteractive” and said it doesn’t allow for dialogue. However, a week after being elected she told the Muslim Girl website that she “believes in and supports the BDS movement.”

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