Rep. Omar bails when CNN asks about her BDS support

Thursday, February 7, 2019
Michael F. Haverluck (

anti-Israel BDS protestersAn agitated Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a Muslim, quickly darted  away from a CNN reporter after being asked about her support of the anti-Semitic BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement.

When CNN reporter Manu Raju confronted Omar Tuesday about her extensively documented anti-Israel sentiments, the Muslim lawmaker from Minnesota became noticeably upset.

“First, he asked her if she considered Israel an ally of the United States,” Townhall reported from the exchange. “She was clearly unnerved or annoyed by the inquiry, but she answered him.”

Indirect jabs

Omar attempted to backpedal a bit and avoid answering the question head-on by giving sweeping generalizations, before implying that Israel does not share the core ethical beliefs that she and other American hold.

"Israel is an ally of the United States, and I think 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 that we push for here," the Muslim lawmaker insisted.

However, the second question could not be cleverly diverted – as reported on social media – and she quickly refrained from continuing a friendly conversation when Omar brought up her anti-Semitic advocacy.

“Rep. Ilhan Omar is asked if she considers Israel an ally of the United States,” the Washington Examiner tweeted Wednesday. “She gives a clunky answer then ignores question about her support for BDS movement. H/T @CNN’s @mkrahu for excellent reporting.”

The question blatantly put the former Somali refugee on the spot about her allegiance to the pro-Palestinian, anti-Jewish movement sweeping America’s colleges and universities that calls businesses to boycott goods and services offered by Israel – an anti-Semitic campaign that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has opposed through legislation he proposed to penalize companies for supporting it.

"Why do you support BDS?" Raju posed to Omar before she briskly walked in the other direction.

Omar, along with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) – who also stirred up controversy as the first elected Muslim congressman for his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood Islamic terrorist organization – are not the only adherents to Islam who have been drawing criticism for their anti-Israel stance. 

“Omar's anti-Israel sentiments appear to be shared with her colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). Tlaib, whose congressional tenure started with a profane rant against President Trump, recently condemned an effort by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to thwart the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement,” Townhall noted last month in a separate report.

More side-stepping

To Omar’s chagrin, Rahu’s questioning was not the first time her passionate hatred for Israel has been publicly brought to the surface.

“Omar was asked a similar question earlier on Tuesday at a Center for American Progress event,” Townhall’s Cortney O’Brien pointed out. “Again, her answer was underwhelming and vague, but at least she didn't flee.”

She dug herself in deeper with CNN on prior occasions, and her reluctance to acknowledge her condescending and unacceptible attitude toward Israel as a politician has hurt her reputation as a politician.

“In previous CNN interviews, Omar has similarly struggled to explain her past musings about Israel – in particular that day in 2012 when she tweeted that Israel has ‘hypnotized the world,’"  O’Brien added. “Asked about it, she made the situation worse for herself by admitting she fails to see how her comments were offensive to Jewish Americans.”

Her tweet claiming that Israel has lulled supporters across the globe to support it in the midst of the harsh opposition it faces on every side of its border in the Middle East appeared to he virtually impossible to defend.

“Israel has hypnotized the world – may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” Omar’s Twitter post read in 2012 – when Israel and Hamas were at war.

But when the Muslim politician was called out for repeating anti-Semitic tropes about Jews using magic to manipulate world events, followed by another criticism by a Twitter user years later in 2018 during her primary campaign when she was called a “Jew hater” – citing her 2012 tweet – she tried to turn the negative attention toward Israel – implying that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians was oppressive.

In addition, just a few months ago in November, a fellow Muslim known as “MuslimGirl” published an article titled, “Ilhan Omar: Why Advocating for Palestine Is Not Anti-Semitic,” where she said Omar’s campaign explained her BDS stance.

“Ilhan believes in and supports the BDS movement, and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized,” MuslimGirl wrote, according to the Israeli daily, Haaretz. “She does, however, have reservations on the effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution.”

In a text exchange Omar had with Lonny Goldsmith – the editor of the Jewish news agency, TC Jewfolk – she tried to justify her advocacy of the controversial group.

“My position has always been the same – I believe and support the BDS movement, and have fought to make sure people right to support it isn’t criminalized, re: my vote against the Anti-BDS bill,” Omar told Goldsmith via text, according to Haaretz. “I do, however, have reservations on effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution, which is what I believe I said at the forum.”

GOP calling out Dems

After Omar was appointed in November to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy condemned the move, emphasizing how both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have been critical of the BDS movement on previous occasions.

“Nancy Pelosi said in 2017 that Congress ‘must’ oppose the BDS movement against Israel, [and] Chuck Schumer went even further, calling BDS ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘profoundly biased,’" McCarthy proclaimed in a statement, according to Townhall’s January report. "I would love to know what changed, because Democratic leaders just promoted a pro-BDS Democrat to a key committee that deals with the State of Israel."

McCarthy’s demands were quickly echoed by House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney.

"The House Democrat Leadership should immediately condemn Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli views,” Cheney declared, according to the Townhall article posted last month. “Anti-Semitism can never be allowed to stand – in any form or forum. It is shameful for it to be ignored by the Democrat leadership in the House. Rather than condemn these abhorrent views, Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats are elevating Rep. Omar. We call on them to correct this immediately."


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