Ilhan Omar Doubles Down on Antisemitic Slur: No ‘Allegiance’ to Israel

Ilhan Omar (Alex Wong / Getty)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) doubled down Sunday on her comment last week accusing pro-Israel Americans of “allegiance to a foreign country,” repeating that view on Twitter and defying calls from fellow Democrats to apologize.

Omar’s remarks were roundly criticized — even by liberals. On Friday, House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) blasted Omar for what he called a “vile anti-Semitic slur,” and demanded “that she retract them, apologize, and commit to making her case on policy issues without resorting to attacks that have no place in the Foreign Affairs Committee or the House of Representatives.”

Along similar lines, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) tweeted Saturday that she was “saddened” that Omar “continues to mischaracterize support for Israel,” and urged her “to retract this statement and engage in further dialogue with the Jewish community.”

But Omar, tweeting from a congressional trip to the Horn of Africa, responded defiantly to Engel and Lowey: “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”

Ironically, Rep. Lowey had just criticized an anti-Islamic poster directed at Rep. Omar in a Republican display at the West Virginia state capitol when she added the tweet opposing antisemitism, to which Omar later objected.

The accusation that pro-Israel Americans — and Jews in particular — owe “allegiance” to Israel is a common antisemitic theme on the extreme right and extreme left, implying conspiracy theories of Jewish control and “dual loyalty.” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) made a similar comment in January, for which she was also criticized.

Omar was forced to apologize last month for antisemitic comments she made on Twitter alleging that a pro-Israel group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), had bought the support of members of Congress. (AIPAC does not donate money to candidates.) She has received support, however, from the “progressive” left — and from white supremacist David Duke, who tweeted his support for Omar’s views about Israel on Thursday.

After her apology, Omar failed to take down the offending tweets for two weeks — including a tweet from 2012 in which she claimed, “Israel has hypnotized the world.” She told The Intercept last week that she finally deleted them “to make sure that the people who were hurt felt understood and heard.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) acknowledged that Omar’s rhetoric was antisemitic, but refused to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, even though Republicans had stripped Rep. Steve King (R-IA) of his committee assignments for controversial remarks on race. (Pelosi claimed, falsely, that President Donald Trump had not dissociated himself from antisemitism.)

Omar added several other tweets Sunday in defense of her views:

Omar supports the “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement against Israel, despite hiding that she did so during the election. BDS has been called antisemitic by critics because it singles out Israel alone for punishment in the conflict with the Palestinians.

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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