Ilhan Omar’s Jewish Constituents Upset over New Antisemitic Remarks

Ilhan Omar (Kerem Yucel / AFP / Getty)
Kerem Yucel / AFP / Getty

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has upset her Jewish constituents in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district — again — after she made new antisemitic comments in recent days, despite meeting with local Jewish leaders for several weeks.

The local Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported on Friday that after Omar’s last round of antisemitic comments, she had quiet meetings with local Jewish community leaders, who hoped to educate her about why some of the rhetoric she used evoked classic antisemitic stereotypes.

But their pleas fell on deaf ears, after Omar claimed last Thursday that pro-Israel Americans showed “allegiance to a foreign country.” After Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on which Omar sites, called her remarks a “vile anti-Semitic slur,” she doubled down, tweeting, “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.”

Local Jewish leaders felt betrayed, Pioneer Press reported:

Over the past two weeks, Omar had several meetings in Minnesota with local Jewish leaders.

It was essentially part of a low-profile, not-on-Twitter, fence-mending tour following Omar’s remarks earlier in the month many saw as anti-Semitic and part of a pattern that dates back several years.

Then, on Thursday night, she said something publicly that many took as a statement that questioned the patriotism of American Jews.

Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), was particularly upset, issuing a statement in which he noted that he had specifically drawn Omar’s attention to the sacrifice of American Jews in battle, and saying that he felt she had personally insulted him:

Beyond the obvious reasons this is insulting to Jewish Americans generally, this latest transgression is personally insulting to me. Just last week, I brought a photo of the grave of my cousin, Gerald ‘Sonny’ Cohen, to our meeting with Congresswoman Omar. Sonny perished in November 1944 fighting as an infantryman for the United States in France during World War II and is buried at the American military cemetery at Lorraine. I brought that photo to our meeting with Congresswoman Omar to illustrate the profound patriotism of Jewish Americans.

Democrats scrambled Monday to contain the damage, scheduling a Wednesday vote in the House on a resolution against antisemitism.

Update: the text of the resolution is now available:

One Democrat, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), rallied to Omar’s side. (Tlaib has made similar antisemitic remarks.)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has refused to rescind Omar’s appointment to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, despite her antipathy toward Israel and her other radical foreign policy views.

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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