Local Jewish Leaders Staged Intervention with Ilhan Omar in 2018: ‘Very Troubled by the Answers We Received’

Ilhan Omar (Christophe Ena / Associated Press)
Christophe Ena / Associated Press

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) hit back Wednesday at President Donald Trump’s call Tuesday for her to resign from Congress or quit the House Foreign Affairs Committee over her antisemitic rhetoric.

Omar, who apologized Monday at the behest of Democratic leaders, claimed that the president had “trafficked in hate” his “whole life,” while she had “learned from people impacted by my words.”

But an article in a local Minneapolis/St. Paul newspaper reported Tuesday that Jewish leaders in Minnesota had spoken to Omar about her views last year — and that she failed to learn anything.

The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported:

Last year, before she was elected to the House of Representatives, before she emerged from a crowded Democratic field in Minnesota’s liberal 5th Congressional District, leaders of Minneapolis’ Jewish community fashioned what could be described as an anti-Semitic intervention of Omar, a rising star of the left whose remarks had made many fellow Democrats in the Jewish community uncomfortable.

Last year, state Sen. Ron Latz, a St. Louis Park Democrat who has served in the Legislature since 2002, invited Omar to his house, where a number of Jewish leaders had gathered. It wasn’t an ambush; Omar knew that group was there, and their purpose was to enlighten her.

[Latz recalled:] “Over the course of about two hours, we shared with her our concerns for things, including language that has references and meanings beyond just the meanings of words. Tropes, dog whistles — call them what you will. We explained to her how hurtful, and factually inaccurate, they were.

“Most of us came out of that conversation very troubled by the answers we received. I was not convinced she was going to give a balanced approach to policy in the Middle East, and I was not convinced … where her heart is on these things.”

As of Wednesday morning, Omar has not deleted any of the antisemitic tweets from Sunday that led to her being forced to apologize Monday. Nor had she deleted an antisemitic from 2012 that had prompted local Jewish leaders to intervene, in which she declared: “Israel has hypnotized the world.”

Latz told the Pioneer Press: “At some point, it becomes a little tired to hear her say she’s being ‘educated.’” He added that the time had passed to keep treating Omar with “kid gloves.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. 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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