Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar Reuters

Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar praised a photo exhibit presented by the Breaking the Silence organization at the national J Street conference in Washington DC.

Breaking the Silence calls itself an “organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.”

“We endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life. Our work aims to bring an end to the occupation,” the group writes on its website.

In an announcement about the exhibit on its Facebook page, Breaking the Silence said that “All of the photos in the exhibit were taken by IDF soldiers who served in the occupied territories since the beginning of the Second Intifada, and portray the day to day realities of life in the West Bank from the point of view of soldiers sent to serve there on behalf of the State of Israel.”

“The soldiers who took these photos are among over 1,200 IDF veterans who have broken the silence about what they were sent to do in the occupied territories.”

Omar, who supports the BDS movement and has become known for her controversial statements about Israel, on Tuesday morning thanked Breaking the Silence for what she called the “moving exhibit on the occupation in Hebron at #jstreet2019.”

“Acknowledgment is the first step to peace. By sharing your stories, you are paving a path to the end of occupation.”

This year’s J Street conference featured speakers such as Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro and Amy Klobuchar, as well as Israeli public figures such as former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Joint Arab List leader Ayman Odeh.