Rep. Omar says Israel as a ‘democracy’ makes her ‘chuckle’

In an interview with Zainab Salbi of Yahoo News, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a freshman member who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, discusses her views on Israel and the BDS movement. In it, she takes issue with the United States’ relationship with the “Israeli government and the Israeli state.” Omar’s 2012 tweet— “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza  #Palestine #Israel” — has been the subject of much debate since her election to the 116th Congress. Here’s the back and forth between Zainab Salbi and Rep. Omar:

Zainab Salbi: How can America work productively towards a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, in your opinion?

Ilhan Omar: By having an equal approach to dealing with both. Most of the things that have always been aggravating to me is that we have had a policy that makes one superior to the other — and we mask it with the conversation that’s about justice and a two-state solution when you have policies that clearly prioritize one over the other.

ZS: Such as?

IO: I mean, just, our relationship, really, with the Israeli government and the Israeli state. And so when I see Israel institute a law that recognizes it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it and we still uphold it as a democracy in the middle east, I almost chuckle because I know that if we say that in any other society we would criticize it, we would 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.

ZS: Now you also, your critics, talk about, and your supporters, some of your supporters not all, talk about your support of the BDS movement, boycott, divest, sanction on Israel.

IO: I’ve not only supported and called for boycott of Israel, but I’ve done that with Saudi Arabia. I’ve actually called for a boycott to Hajj in Saudi Arabia.


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