Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton endorsed State House Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-Minneapolis) on Friday as his chosen candidate for the state’s 5th congressional district, the seat currently held by retiring Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).
Dayton endorsed Omar, the first Somali immigrant to hold legislative office in the U.S., despite the fact that she has taken radically anti-Israel positions — bordering on antisemitic — and despite questions about the legality of her marriage.
It is truly an honor to receive Governor Mark Dayton’s endorsement!
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 8, 2018
In 2012, Omar tweeted: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” The tweet remains posted as of this writing:
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 16, 2012
The idea that Israel has “hypnotized” the world evokes antisemitic motifs of Jewish control. But as Tablet magazine noted, Omar defended the tweet as recently as May 31, claiming it is not an attack on Jews, but rather on “apartheid Israel” (original links):
Omar defended the tweet on May 31, when another Twitter user resurfaced her 2012 post: “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews. You are a hateful sad man, I pray to Allah you get the help you need and find happiness.” In Omar’s mind, equating Israel with “evil” and accusing the country of having a creepily metaphysical ability to impose itself on the entire world counts as legitimate criticism. In a follow-up tweet, Omar appeared to mock the idea that anyone could read anti-Semitic tropes into her earlier tweets.
As a state legislator, Omar often took anti-Israel stances, opposing a bill to counter boycotts of Israel (while comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa). Instead, she urged the University of Minnesota to divest from Israel bonds.
She was also one of only two legislators to vote against a bill that would allow life insurance companies to deny payouts to the families of terrorists.
Most bizarre of all, In 2016, Omar’s campaign refused to answer questions about the legality of her marriage. As local Fox 9 reported at the time:
In 2002, Omar, then just 19, swore out a marriage license with a man named Ahmed Aden. They write that they were married by the Muslim Church, but were having trouble getting housing and insurance. Hennepin County has no marriage certificate or final record that legalized the marriage.
Then, in 2009, she at least on paper legally marries a man by the name of Ahmed Nur Said Elmi. The conservative Power Line blog alleges that this is her brother — a potential sham marriage to help the brother with immigration into the United States. Fox 9 cannot independently confirm the allegation.
In recent interviews, Ilhan Omar has said her husband is a third man — Ahmed Hirsi — the father of the couple’s 3 children. We could not find any divorce records in Ilhan Omar’s name in Minnesota. As for the man she publicly refers to as her husband, one source in the community tells Fox 9 that Ilhan Omar’s current marriage is what you would call a “traditional” or “community” marriage — one not necessarily legalized with paperwork at the county or state level.
While Ilhan Omar’s campaign wouldn’t provide any documentation or explanation for the marriage licenses on file, they did release a statement calling the rumors about her personal life “absurd” and “false.”
(Update: Omar’s first and third reported husbands are, in fact, the same man.)
Omar dismissed the allegations as false, and as the product of anti-Muslim prejudice, but has not, apparently, provided complete answers to the questions that blogger Scott Johnson raised at Power Line and City Journal.
Ellison is leaving Congress to run for attorney general of Minnesota, though he intends to retain his post as deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The race to replace him includes eight Democrats and three Republicans in their respective party primaries.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
This post has been updated to reflect the fact that Omar’s first and third reported husbands are, in fact, the same man.)