(January 31, 2019 / JNS) Adding to her anti-Israel portfolio, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was slammed for saying that she “almost chuckle[s]” when the Jewish state is labeled as a democracy.
“Most of the things that have been aggravating to me is that we have had a policy that makes one superior to the other,” said Omar, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “And we mask it with a conversation about justice and a two-state solution. When you have policies that clearly prioritize one over the other.”
“I mean just our relationship with the Israeli government and the Israeli state. And so when I see Israel institute laws that recognize it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it,” she added. “And we still uphold it as a democracy in the Middle East. I almost chuckle because I know that if we see that any other society we would criticize it, call it out. We do that to Iran, we do that to any other place that sort of upholds its religion. And I see that now happening with Saudi Arabia and so I am aggravated, truly, in those contradictions.”
Omar was criticized from the left and the right.
“It really goes to show how colossally poor of a decision it was for Democratic leadership to put someone on the House Foreign Affairs Committee whose animus towards Jews and Israel so clouds her judgement that she can’t recognize that Israel is not only a democracy, but the only one in the Middle East,” Republican Jewish Coalition spokesperson Neil Strauss told JNS.
Democratic New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind blasted the comparison of the Jewish state to the Islamic Republic. “Who objects to Saudi Arabia being Islamic? Or any of the other 48 Muslim states? The issue with Iran isn’t their state religion; it’s their terror-loving leaders that are condemned. @IlhanMN needs to learn about the world before she’s out of excuses for her antisemitism,” he tweeted.
Who objects to Saudi Arabia being Islamic? Or any of the other 48 Muslim states? The issue with Iran isn’t their state religion; it’s their terror-loving leaders that are condemned. @IlhanMN needs to learn about the world before she’s out of excuses for her antisemitism. https://t.co/zQFiK7PwV1
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) January 30, 2019
Without addressing the incident specifically, the Jewish Democratic Council of America said that it “has clearly and repeatedly stated its concerns with the views of Representative Omar regarding Israel. We also have strong confidence that bipartisan support for a robust U.S.-Israel relationship will continue in the 116th Congress under Democratic leadership. Chairs of all the relevant committees and subcommittees in the House, such as Representatives Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey and Ted Deutch, will shape Middle East policy in this Congress, not Representative Omar.”