Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is facing more accusations of anti-Semitism after alleging that some have a dual loyalty between the U.S. and Israel, earlier this week.
“What I’m fearful of — because Rashida and I are Muslim — that a lot of our Jewish colleagues, a lot of our constituents, a lot of our allies, go to thinking that everything we say about Israel to be anti-Semitic because we are Muslim,” Omar said during a town hall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, which was first reported by New York Magazine.
To me, it’s something that becomes designed to end the debate because you get in this space of – yes, I know what intolerance looks like and I’m sensitive when someone says, ‘The words you used Ilhan, are resemblance of intolerance.’ And I am cautious of that and I feel pained by that. But it’s almost as if, every single time we say something regardless of what it is we say…we get to be labeled something. And that ends the discussion. Because we end up defending that and nobody ever gets to have the broader debate of what is happening with Palestine.
Omar concluded, “So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
The charge of dual loyalty not only raises the ominous specter of classic anti-Semitism, but it is also deeply insulting to the millions upon millions of patriotic Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish, who stand by our democratic ally, Israel.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) March 1, 2019
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who was on the receiving end of previous criticism from Omar, tweeted, “The charge of dual loyalty not only raises the ominous specter of classic anti-Semitism, but it is also deeply insulting to the millions upon millions of patriotic Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish, who stand by our democratic ally, Israel.”
AIPAC was not the only one to condemn the Minnesota congresswoman’s comment. The Anti-Defamation League also tweeted about her comment, focusing on the anti-Semitic history of the “dual loyalty” accusation.
This is not just disturbing, but seems to be part of a pattern. The charge of dual loyalty has long been used to attack Jews, well before the state of Israel even existed. Here is more about why this matters and why it needs to end: https://t.co/HUYOm0i6uZ https://t.co/VxdB3cY6eN
— ADL (@ADL) March 1, 2019
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel issued a statement against Omar, calling the comment a “vile anti-Semitic slur,” and “deeply offensive.” His statement did not mention whether or not her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee is in jeopardy. (RELATED: America’s First Two Muslim Congresswoman Officially Endorse Anti-Israel Legislation)
After the most recent criticism, Omar’s spokesperson Jeremy Slevin released a statement saying that Omar “reiterated the remorse she feels for her comments last month — and the pain she knows they caused.” Slevin was referencing the congresswoman’s now-deleted tweet accusing AIPAC of buying support for Israel.
Omar’s colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, also faced condemnation for suggesting members of Congress had a dual loyalty to Israel, specifically saying in January, “They forgot what country they represent.”