Omar endorses Sanders: Proud to stand with son of Jewish refugee

Rep. Ilhan Omar becomes latest member of "The Squad" to endorse Bernie Sanders for president.

Elad Benari,

Bernie Sanders and Ilhan Omar
Bernie Sanders and Ilhan Omar
Reuters

Rep. Ilhan Omar appeared at a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in her home state of Minnesota and offered a strong endorsement that noted his Jewishness, JTA reports.

An estimated 10,000 supporters attended the Sunday night event for the Vermont senator at the University of Minnesota.

“I am proud to stand with the son of a Jewish refugee who survived genocide,” the Muslim congresswoman said. “The acknowledgment of pain and suffering is personal for both of us. The fight for human rights is undeniable. And when we recognize injustices of the past and present, whether it is genocide against Jewish people, Armenians or Rwandans or Bosnians or Native Americans or more.”

“People say that Ilhan and I make an odd political couple. But in fact, there is really nothing odd about it at all,” Sanders told the rally.

“Ilhan and I share a common link as the descendants of families who fled violence and poverty, and who came to this country as immigrants. But that is not just my story or Ilhan’s story — that is the story of America,” he added.

By endorsing Sanders, Omar joined fellow freshman congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib.

Tlaib, Omar and Ocasio-Cortez are members of what they call "The Squad," an outspoken, leftist group of four rookie, youthful and racially diverse congresswomen whom President Donald Trump has accused of hating America.

Omar and Tlaib both endorse the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Sanders does not but upholds the right of Americans to boycott Israel.

Like Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib, Omar has made controversial statements on Israel.

She came under fire earlier this year after she suggested on Twitter that Republicans were attacking her at the behest of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. She subsequently issued a half-hearted apology before ultimately deleting the controversial tweets.

In September, Omar called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's "existence" a problem in an interview with CBS.

In August, Israel barred Omar and Tlaib from entering the country due to their support for BDS.

Sanders has also come under fire for statements on Israel, most recently last week when he told the J Street conference that the US should redirect its aid to Israel and give it to Gaza instead, while calling the Israeli government “racist”.

Sanders’ comments were criticized by Nikki Haley, the former US Ambassador to the UN.

“Just when you thought Bernie Sanders couldn’t get any more radical, he outdid himself. He wants to take money we give to Israel to defend itself from terrorists, and give it to Gaza, which is run by terrorists?? Unreal. Why isn’t every other Dem pres candidate saying he’s wrong?” tweeted Haley.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also fired back at Sanders.

“Bernie Sanders, stop talking nonsense. Just yesterday, I met with representatives of the EU during their visit to the Knesset, and I told them about the absurd claims regarding the economic situation in the Gaza Strip,” tweeted Edelstein.

“It's time to put an end to these claims. They have the all the necessary means--they use the money earmarked for the public benefit in order to attack the State of Israel,” he added.

Former Vice President and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden also commented on the issue and, while not specifically naming Sanders, said, “The idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find to be absolutely outrageous.”

“I would not condition it, and I think it's a gigantic mistake. And I hope some of my candidates who are running with me for the nomination; I hope they misspoke, or they were taken out of context,” he added.




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