Omar walks back comments on Jewish Democrats

Rep. Ilhan Omar highlights historic ties between Black and the Jewish communities after controversial interview on CNN.

Elad Benari ,

Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on Wednesday issued a lengthy statement highlighting the historic ties between the Black and the Jewish communities after she caused an uproar when she said in an interview on CNN that Jewish Democrats are not “partners in justice.”

“I am someone who has survived war and experienced injustice firsthand, who is alive today because I was welcomed into this country as a refugee,” she wrote on Twitter.

“I know that many of my colleagues—both Jewish and non-Jewish—deeply share that commitment to fighting injustice,” added Omar.

“I also know that the Black community and the Jewish community have historically stood side-by-side in the fight against injustice and throughout our history we have faced efforts to divide us based on our differences.”

“In this moment, we must stand in solidarity because what unites us is so much greater than what unites us,” she wrote.

“Most of my colleagues across Congress may not be refugees themselves, but fleeing war and persecution only to find a refuge in the United States of America—*is* the Jewish-American experience. This binds us,” continued Omar.

“That is why it is so important for us to build solidarity in the here and now, to make clear that the threats we face can only be solved if we see racism, anti-Muslim hate, and xenophobia as inextricably linked to antisemitism.”

In the controversial interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Omar defended a recent statement comparing Israel and the United States to Hamas and the Taliban, saying she did not regret the comparison.

When she was asked if she understood why Democrats, especially fellow Jewish Democrats, found her previous comments on Israel to be anti-Semitic, Omar shot back that they were not “partners in justice.”

In response to Omar’s recent comparison between Israel and the Taliban, 12 of the 25 Jewish Democrats in the US House of Representatives published a statement said the grouping of the United States and Israel with the Taliban and Hamas in remarks about pursuing war crimes prosecutions gives “cover to terrorist groups” and called on Omar to clarify her earlier statements.

Omar then fired back at her Jewish colleagues and said, “It’s shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now put out a statement asking for ‘clarification’ and not just call.”

“The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable,” added Omar.

She later issued another clarification and claimed she had been misunderstood.

In May, Omar called Israel's retaliations for Gazan rocket fire on civilians an "act of terrorism," but failed to condemn the rockets themselves, or Hamas' use of Gazan civilians as human shields.

She also came under fire in 2019 after she suggested on Twitter that Republicans were attacking her at the behest of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.

Omar subsequently issued a half-hearted apology before ultimately deleting the controversial tweets.

In 2019, Israel announced it would bar entry to Omar and fellow Muslim congresswoman Rashida Tlaib over their support for BDS.