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Ilhan Omar Controversy: What Do Young American Jews Think?

Haaretz speaks to five U.S. Jews to hear their take on the anti-Semitism affair that's roiling the Democratic Party

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., sits with fellow Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee during a bill markup, on Capitol Hill in Washington. March 6, 2019
J. Scott Applewhite,AP

NEW YORK — After the past several weeks, there are now very few American Jews who have not heard of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

The freshman congresswoman, one of only two female Muslim lawmakers in the House, first sparked outrage last month after claiming U.S. support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins” — a remark for which she apologized after being called out for anti-semitism.

But the controversy was reignited early last week when, while discussing the anti-Semitism allegations against her,  Omar said: "I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Some Jewish lawmakers and organizations condemned her latest comments, which triggered the drafting of a Democratic resolution for the House to denounce anti-Semitism. However, following fierce debate within the party, that resolution was eventually broadened to include condemnation of all forms of bigotry.

The issue dominated the U.S. political landscape all week, with President Donald Trump even declaring Friday that the Democratic Party was now "anti-Jewish."