Ilhan Omar Calls for U.S. to Use Aid as Leverage Against Israel

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., the first Somali-American elected to Congress who is a frequent target of President Donald Trump, speaks as she introduces the Zero Waste Act that creates a federal grant program to help local governments invest in waste reduction initiatives, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 25, …
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) admitted in a series of tweets Friday that the purpose of her trip to Israel centered around “witness[ing] firsthand what is happening on the ground in Palestine” —  just as Israeli leadership originally suggested — and called for the U.S. to use aid as “leverage” against Israel.

Israeli leaders announced their decision to bar Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) from Israel Thursday, citing their support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

It continued:

For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.

Omar reacted to the continuing fallout in a series of tweets Friday afternoon, admitting their original intention to “witness firsthand what is happening on the ground in Palestine.”

“Let’s be clear: the goal of our trip was to witness firsthand what is happening on the ground in Palestine and hear from stakeholders — our job as Members of Congress,” she tweeted, adding, “But since we were unable to fulfill our role as legislators, I am sharing what we would have seen.”

She followed with a lengthy thread and ended with a call, urging the U.S. to use aid as leverage against Israel due to what she believes is the mistreatment of Palestinians:

Omar, however, failed to mention that “notorious Palestinian extremist and Israel boycott defender Hanan Ashrawi” co-sponsored and organized their trip.

As Breitbart News reported:

The cancelled visit was partially organized and co-sponsored by Miftah, an anti-Israel organization headed by Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee and supporter of BDS.

Ashrawi claimed the trip was supposed to be a way for Omar and Tlaib “to engage with the Palestinian people directly and to see things on the ground.”

NGO Monitor, a watchdog on extremist nonprofits, notes that Miftah has accused Israel of committing “massacres,” “apartheid,” “summary executions” of Palestinian youth and “Judaizing” Jerusalem. It has also accused Israel of “ethnic-cleansing of Palestinian-Israeli Arabs.”

According to the report, Ashrawi, a leader for the violent First Palestinian Intifada and deputy to late Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chair and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, is known for her support of anti-Israel conspiracy theories and her attempts to justify Palestinian resistance against Israel.

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