Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar faced a bipartisan wave of criticism this week, including a remarkable rebuke from House Democratic leadership, for weekend tweets deemed anti-Semitic – but this is hardly the first time she’s made controversial comments about Israel.
The uproar that gripped Capitol Hill Monday began after she suggested pro-Israel members of Congress are simply motivated by funding from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders urged Omar to apologize for using “anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters.” Omar eventually apologized but reiterated “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics.”
But while the AIPAC comments generated the most headlines, Omar has made numerous controversial comments ever since she got involved in activism and politics.
Prior to becoming a congresswoman, Omar was a local Somali-American activist in Minnesota. Unrestrained by the decorum of any elected office, she previously lashed out against Israel using what many regard as an anti-Semitic trope.
“Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” she tweeted in 2012.