Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who has compared boycotts of Israel and of Nazi Germany, was slated to deliver opening remarks at a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom event on Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims, according to a listing shared on Twitter. But the event is now slated for May 1, without the congresswoman on the docket.
Rabbi David Saperstein, director emeritus of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (whom JNS was unable to reach via multiple channels) remains listed as moderator.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was previously listed as a speaker. Spokeswoman Laura Ortiz told JNS that Rubio would not attend in person but would pre-record remarks. She deferred questions to the commission. “They organize the event, not the senator,” she said. “That’s up to their prerogative.”
“Marco has been on the record on his disagreements with the congresswoman on multiple occasions,” she added.
Omar has a long history of antisemitic statements, including accusing Israel of having “hypnotized the world” and Jews of buying control of Congress (“It’s all about the Benjamins”). She has called Israel an “apartheid state” and likened it to the Taliban and Hamas terrorist groups.
She was to be among those who were to deliver opening remarks at an April 25 event, during which the religious freedom commission, part of the federal government, will release its 2023 annual report.
“The 2023 Annual Report documents systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom that have occurred in the last year, and provides recommendations to the U.S. government intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief abroad,” per the commission website.
The commission did not immediately respond to questions about why she was invited and why the date was changed.
Be a part of our community
JNS serves as the central hub for a thriving community of readers who appreciate the invaluable context our coverage offers on Israel and their Jewish world.
Please join our community and help support our unique brand of Jewish journalism that makes sense.