BDS Supporter Ilhan Omar: ‘Sanctions Are … Failed Foreign Policy’

US Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, speaks during a press conference calling on Congress to cut funding for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to defund border detention facilities, outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, February 7, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should …
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who supports sanctions against Israel, has published an op-ed in Thursday’s Washington Post that attacks President Donald Trump’s use of sanctions as “part of a failed foreign policy playbook.”

Omar came out in support of the anti-Israel “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement shortly after being elected to Congress in 2018 (and after misleading voters during the campaign into believing she did not support BDS).

She also co-sponsored a House resolution earlier this year supporting the BDS movement. Israel barred her from entering the country in August, in accordance with an Israeli law that prevents BDS supporters from visiting.

In her Post op-ed, Omar attacks sanctions against Turkey — even though they led to that country accepting a cease-fire with Kurds in northern Syria — and argues that sanctions are an overly punitive and counter-productive tool:

In so much of our foreign policy, we rely on muscle memory and a limited toolbox to decide the best course of action. And, too often, sanctions regimes are ill considered, incoherent and counterproductive.

Research has shown that sanctions rarely achieve their desired goals. In the worst-case scenario, they hurt the people of a country — generally the very people we’re purporting to help — without making a dent in the country’s behavior. And in the case of human rights abusers, research suggests that more abuses typically occur with economic sanctions in place than without them.

Sanctions are not meant to be an end in themselves, but we too often use them as a lever without a plan for what comes after, whether they achieve the desired result or not.

Omar also attacks U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela. She does not attempt to explain why Israel alone is deserving of sanctions, or why the reasoning she applies to other countries does not apply to the Jewish state.

Throughout her first year in Congress, Omar has faced accusations of antisemitism. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appointed Omar to the House Foreign Affairs Committee despite concern over her anti-Israel views.

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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