Just days after winning her congressional race, Democrat Ilhan Omar stated that she “believes in and supports” anti-Israel boycotts, a position she denied at a synagogue-hosted campaign event in August.
By World Israel News Staff
Representative-Elect Ilhan Omar told over 1,000 attendees at a campaign event in August that the anti-Israel boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement is “counteractive,” deeming it not “helpful in getting a two-state solution.” The event was held at a Minneapolis area synagogue and attracted members of the Jewish community.
She was specifically pressed on BDS based on her history of anti-Israel social media posts, including a tweet claiming, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” which she posted six years ago. She also referred to Israel as an “apartheid regime” and denied “hating Jews.”
On Sunday, a website called Muslim Girl published a statement from Omar’s staff admitting that “Ilhan believes in and supports the BDS movement, and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized. She does however, have reservations on the effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution.”
In the Muslim Girl piece, Omar inexplicably defines “anti-Semitism” as “not criticiz[ing] a brutal government committing human rights violations against an occupied peoples, … because it is politically inconvenient for those that support the Israeli government and its criminal tactics.”
With Omar appearing to contradict her campaign position on BDS less than a week after winning her congressional race, members of her constituency questioned her regarding the apparent about-face.
Minneapolis-based journalist Lonny Goldsmith specifically asked Omar on Monday about her pro-BDS statements, which she confirmed in a text message exchange that was later published by the community news site TC Jewfolk.
Omar told Goldsmith her “position [on BDS] has always been the same” and that she “supports the BDS movement. She also denied that representing herself as opposing BDS at a campaign event held at a synagogue was “politically expedient.”
A member of the synagogue that hosted the August event expressed disappointment in an interview with World Israel News (WIN) on Thursday.
“I’m dismayed that Ms. Omar is now showing support for BDS. It feels like a bit like a bait-and-switch,” commented the community member, who requested that his name not be published. “I heard her talk about the importance of working towards a two state solution. I also meet with her this summer at a different campaign event in Minneapolis specifically to talk with her about Israel.”
“She admitted that she didn’t know much about Israel or the history of the region, and was interested in learning more about the US-Israel relationship,” he told WIN.
Omar’s campaign statements about BDS are included in this clip: