New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman: Ilhan Omar Is a ‘Bridge-Destroyer’

Democratic congressional candidate the Midterm elections, Ilhan Omar, speaks to a group of supporters at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 2, 2018.
KEREM YUCEL/AFP/Getty Images

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman told CNN’s Smerconish on Saturday that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) did nothing to build bridges with Jews and Muslims after her recent antisemitic comments about Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Friedman said that while Omar had the opportunity to “build bridges” between the Jewish and Somali-Muslims who reside in her district, she squandered that opportunity by repeatedly pushing forth antisemitic tropes.

“Ilhan Omar represents, I believe, the biggest Jewish community in the whole upper Midwest,” Friedman told CNN in a Saturday interview. “She represents that community. She also represents a Somali immigrant community that’s come to our city since then and added their voices and their richness and their culture.”

“She was perfectly poised to be a bridge-builder between Muslims and Jews, between Arabs and Israelis,” Friedman continued. “And rather than come to Washington and be a bridge-builder, she has come to be a bridge-destroyer.”

Friedman’s CNN interview comes days after he penned a column in the New York Times blasting Omar for accusing pro-Israel Americans of pledging “dual loyalty” to both Israel and the U.S.

“When I see that dual-loyalty charge coming from a congresswoman who first signaled opposition to B.D.S. and then support for it, when I see it coming from a congresswoman who has never been to Israel…it makes me suspicious of her motives,” Friedman wrote on Wednesday.

“If she thinks the only reason that Americans support Israel is because of AIPAC and campaign contributions, she is dead wrong,” he wrote.

Omar, who had been forced to apologize for posting an antisemitic tweet accusing AIPAC of buying the support of congressional lawmakers, has continued to make anti-Israel remarks despite receiving backlash from both Republicans and Democrats.

The Minnesota Democrat has defied calls from Democrat colleagues urging her to apologize for her statements, and doubled down on a comment she made recently alleging that pro-Israel Americans pledge “allegiance” to foreign nations.

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