LA: 1,000 gather to protest Ilhan Omar's anti-Israel rhetoric

Ilhan Omar sparks protests with visit to Los Angeles, as pro-Israel demonstrators denounce what they called Omar's 'anti-Semitic' rhetoric.

David Rosenberg ,

Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar

Protesters gathered outside of a Los Angeles hotel over the weekend to condemn freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) as she attended a fundraising event for a controversial Islamic group.

Some 1,000 people took part in the protests Saturday, waving Israeli and American flags, outside the Woodland Hills Hilton in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles where the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held its fourth annual Valley Banquet.

CAIR, a controversial organization which identifies itself as a “grassroots civil rights” and “Muslim civil liberties” advocacy group, has been accused by critics of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Hamas terrorist organization, and in 2014 was itself designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates. CAIR has denied the claims, and rejected the UAE’s terrorist designation as “bizarre”.

But the protesters who gathered outside of the CAIR fundraiser focused their criticism on the presence of Representative Omar, accusing the 37-year-old Somalian-born lawmaker of using anti-Semitic canards to criticize both Israel and supporters of the Jewish state.

Ariella Plachta, of the LA Daily News, said the protesters included members of the local Jewish community and some Evangelical pro-Israel Christians.

“A mix of MAGA hats, Jewish community members and Evangelical pro-Israel types. Police guessing around 1,000 people. There are some weird conspiracy theories floating around… never been to a Trump rally but this is what I imagine it to be like,” Plachta tweeted.

There was also a small group of counter-demonstrators who gathered to show support for Omar, Plachta reported.

“Handful of Omar supporters on the other side of the street. ‘Look at those liberal losers,’ someone in a MAGA hat yelling at them through a megaphone.”

Omar has been accused of anti-Semitism both by Republicans and even some congressional Democrats, over her attacks on Israel and support for Israel in the US.

In 2012, Omar tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized the world” to hide its “evil doings”.

While she later said she regretted her choice of words, Omar went on to deny Israel is a democracy, comparing the Jewish state to Iran, and later accused Israel supporters in the US of buying off Congress, tweeting that support for Israel is “All about the Benjamins, baby”.

Omar also drew criticism for accusing supporters of Israel of having “allegiance to a foreign country”.