Trouble brewing for Israel? Omar, Ellison endorse Biden in ‘Million Muslim Vote’ push

Omar and Ellison, whose anti-Israel views are well known, endorsed Biden.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

What will it mean for U.S. Israel support as America’s growing Muslim population becomes increasingly active politically?

American Muslim politicians are hoping the answer will come sooner than later.

Several prominent Muslim American elected officials endorsed Joe Biden for president in a letter organized by Emgage Action ahead of an online summit that starts Monday and features the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Among those signing the letter, obtained by The Associated Press, are Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, all Democrats.

The Emgage letter coincides with an online summit that Emgage Action has titled “Million Muslim Votes,” underscoring its emphasis on boosting Muslim turnout in November. Biden is set to address the gathering on Monday.

Wa’el Alzayat, CEO of Emgage Action, said by email, “Joe Biden’s presence serves not only to galvanize Muslim Americans to cast their ballots, but to usher in an era of engaging with Muslim American communities under a Biden administration.”

Galvanizing voters who may share the views of people like Omar and Ellison will be cause for concern to America’s Israel supporters.

Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, won the 2019 ‘Anti-Semite of the Year’ award in a poll organized by StopAntisemitism.org.

She made headlines when she suggested that America’s largest pro-Israel lobbying group buys political support. In May, she attempted to link Saudi Arabia and Israel, suggesting both used money and connections to guide U.S. policy.

Ellison, who it was revealed in 2018 maintained close ties with vicious anti-Semite Rev. Louis Farrakhan despite claiming he had cut all connections with him, appears to share Omar’s views.

In Nov. 2018, the Investigative Project on Terrorism published a snippet of a speech made by Ellison in which he said, “The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people. A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved, everything changes.”

The pro-Biden letter from Muslim American elected officials decried a number of President Donald Trump’s domestic and international policies, including his pullout from the Iran nuclear deal. That deal is vociferously opposed by Israel supporters, who say it will lead to a nuclear-armed Islamic State.

The Muslim American officials also praised Biden’s agenda for their communities. Among other goals, Biden has vowed to rescind the Trump administration’s travel ban affecting Muslims “on Day One” if he’s elected.

Other state and local-level Muslim American officials signing onto the pro-Biden letter hail from several states, including Michigan, where Alzayat said he believes there are more than 150,000 registered Muslim voters.

Those numbers in a swing state that Trump won by fewer than 11,000 votes make Emgage’s goal of maximizing Muslim voter turnout especially powerful in Michigan, but the group also has chapters in battleground states such as Pennsylvania and Florida.

“A lot is at stake,” Alzayat said. “The importance of Muslim American voter participation in this upcoming election cycle is greater than it has ever been.”

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also has said she would vote for Biden in the fall.

Farooq Mitha, senior adviser for Muslim engagement with Biden’s campaign, said reaching out to Muslim American voters is a priority for Biden, pointing to his own appointment as an example. The campaign has hosted events with Muslim Americans and met with community leaders over the past months, he said.

“Muslim communities can have an outsized impact in many states and we are working every day to earn their support,” he said.

AP contributed to this report.