Watch: Democratic congresswoman ducks questions on BDS support

Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar dodges CNN reporter's question regarding her support for anti-Israel boycott.

David Rosenberg,

Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar
Reuters

While the Senate managed to pass a bill empowering states and local governments to ban cooperation with the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, the refusal of nearly two dozen senators to back the legislation has highlighted the growing divided within the Democratic Party over support for Israel.

With the bill now taken up by the Democratic-led House of Representatives, some factions within the party have vowed to oppose the bill – not only citing what some call freedom of speech issues, but even their support for anti-Israel boycotts.

Though some prominent Senate Democrats like Elizabeth Warren said they were opposed to the BDS movement and voted against the bill because they view bans on BDS by firms doing business with local governments as restrictive of political freedom, a cadre of left-wing lawmakers have come out in favor of BDS.

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American congresswoman from Minnesota, and Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib have both explicitly backed the anti-Israel boycott movement.

While Democrats say anti-Israel positions within the party represent only a small fringe, Republicans have pointed to the widespread opposition to the anti-BDS legislation as proof that support for Israel is weakening among Democrats, leaving many lawmakers to hedge their bets by both voting against the bill, while denouncing BDS.

On Wednesday, Omar said the US needed to have “difficult conversations” about some of its allies, but dodged a CNN reporter’s questions regarding her support for the BDS movement.

“It is really important for us to get a different lens about what peace in that region could look like and what kind of difficult conversations we need to have about allies.”

“Israel is an ally of the United States, and I think that as much as you would look to your neighbor, to your friends to live out the same values as you are, we want to make sure that our allies are living out the same values as we are.”

Last month, Omar came under fire for saying that the idea of “Israeli democracy” made her laugh and compared Israel to the Iranian regime.

“Your anti-Semitic & anti-Israel hate is strong & wrong & those terrorists have US blood on their hands as well,” Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York tweeted following Omar’s comments on Yahoo! News.




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