Ilhan Omar: Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘Existence’ Prevents Peace

Ilhan Omar (Stephen Maturen / Getty)
Stephen Maturen / Getty

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) told CBS News’ Face the Nation that she hoped Israelis realized that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “existence” prevents peace in the region.

Last month, Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) were barred from entering Israel, in accordance with an Israeli law that boycotts those who advocates for boycotts against it.

CBS News (via CNSNews) asked Omar about the upcoming Israeli elections, to be held Tuesday, Sep. 17, and whether she would renew her support for the “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement that the U.S. House of Representatives condemned earlier this year.

CBS News: You were specifically banned by the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, from visiting that country. He faces a very tough election in the next few days. If he doesn’t win, are you going to try to go back, and do you stand by your call for a boycott of Israel?

Ilhan Omar: I certainly hope that the people of Israel make a different decision. And my hope is that they recognize that his existence, his policies, his rhetoric really is [sic] contradictory to the peace that we are all hoping that that region receives, and receives soon. Just right now, if you look at the annexation that is taking place, for many of us in Congress, there has been longstanding support for a two-state solution, and this annexation now is going to make sure that that peace process does not happen and we will not get to a two-state solution. I think what is really important is for people to understand that you have to give people the opportunity to seek the kind of justice they want in a peaceful way and I think the opportunity to boycott, divest, sanction is the kind of the pressure that leads to that peaceful process.

The “annexation” to which Omar referred is a plan unveiled by Netanyahu earlier this month to annex the Israeli settlements in the Jordan River valley, which Israel was always said would be part of its territory in any peace deal with the Palestinians, and which Israel regards as its eastern frontier against invasion by Arab states and Iran.

That position will not change if Netanyahu loses. Benny Gantz, who is Netanyahu’s main opponent, vowed in July that the Jordan River valley will always be controlled by Israel: “The valley is the State of Israel’s eastern protective wall and will always remain under our control,” he said, as reported by Israel’s left-wing Ha’aretz newspaper.

Omar ran for Congress in 2018 promising not to support BDS, calling the movement “not helpful in getting that two-state solution.” She flip-flopped once elected to her “safe” Democratic seat.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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