Ilhan Omar Apologizes For Statements Condemned As Anti-semitic
“Twitter is probably not the best medium for nuanced conversation,” Mr. Munayyer said. “But I don’t think the correct answer is we can’t talk about it. I think it is very important in this moment to have a conversation about U.S. relations with Israel.”
Ms. Mayer said she “wholeheartedly” accepts Ms. Omar’s “apology for her word choice while also appreciating the moral stance that she takes on this issue, which is pretty unprecedented in today’s Congress.”
Monday’s back and forth came on top of earlier flash points that pitted Ms. Omar against Israel’s fiercest supporters in Congress, Republican and Democrat. She told Yahoo News last month that when politicians “still uphold” Israel “as a democracy in the Middle East, I almost chuckle.” That brought back criticism of a 2012 tweet in which she accused Israel of hypnotizing the world to mask its evil deeds.
She had been trying to mend fences over those comments when Sunday night’s tweet went viral.
Before the leaders’ statement on Monday, other Democrats had broken rank to voice their condemnations. Two House Democrats, Representatives Elaine Luria, a freshman from Virginia, and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, released a letter Monday morning calling on Democratic leaders to speak out against any lawmaker who “uses harmful tropes and stereotypes, levels accusations of dual loyalty or makes reckless statements like those yesterday.”
“As Jewish members of Congress, we are deeply alarmed by recent rhetoric from certain members within our caucus, including just last night, that has disparaged us and called into question our loyalty to our nation,” they wrote. “We urge you to join us in calling on each member of our caucus to unite against anti-Semitism and hateful tropes and stereotypes.”
[Read the letter here.]
The two said in interviews that they were referring both to Ms. Omar and to another freshman Democrat, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the other Muslim woman in Congress. Ms. Tlaib has also drawn fire for remarks that her critics say fuel anti-Semitic tropes, and Ms. Luria and Mr. Gottheimer recently met with her to express their concerns.
Both said they left the meeting disappointed that she did not apologize. Ms. Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American and whose grandmother lives in the West Bank, responded with a statement Monday evening saying in part that her “life’s work is centered on equality and justice,” adding, “I am not easily bullied away from choosing peace and truth dialogue.”