Omar Doubles Down on 'anti-Semitic' Dual Loyalty Charge in Exchange With Jewish Congresswoman

Minnesota Democratic representative sparred with New York Rep. Nita Lowey on Twitter Sunday

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Representative-elect Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, November, 30, 2018.
Representative-elect Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, November, 30, 2018. Credit: Bloomberg
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Haaretz

Minessota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is making headlines, again, for a tweet repeating an anti-Semitic trope.

Omar, who was the target of Islamophobic flyers posted in the West Virginia Capitol building last week, sparred with fellow Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey on Twitter Sunday, and again stated that Jewish lawmakers are loyal to both Israel and the United States.

New York's Lowey had slammed Saturday the anti-Muslim posters featuring Omar. She wrote on Twitter, “Gross Islamophobic stereotypes — like those about @IlhanMN recently featured on posters in WVA — are offensive and have no place in political discourse. Anti-Semitic tropes that accuse Jews of dual loyalty are equally painful and must also be roundly condemned.

“I am saddened that Rep. Omar continues to mischaracterize support for Israel. I urge her to retract this statement and engage in further dialogue with the Jewish community on why these comments are so hurtful,” continued Lowey, referring to remarks Omar made last Wednesday during a town hall in Washington. Omar had said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel responded on Friday, calling on Omar to apologize for her “vile anti-Semitic slur.” Omar sits on the same committee.

Omar responded to Lowey by doubling down on her comments. “Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th [Congressional District of Minnesota] elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that!” Omar responded.

Omar continued to defend herself in a long thread, writing: “I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.”

The Anti-Defamation League also condemned the Ilhan Omar "allegiance to a foreign country" comment, while conceding the situation takes place "at a fraught time" after she was "herself victimized by a vicious anti-Muslim smear."

"Rep. Omar has argued that these statements reflect good faith disagreements about US policy toward Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the relationship between the two. This could not be further from the truth," read a letter from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"Accusing Jews of having allegiance to a foreign government has long been a vile anti-Semitic slur that has been used to harass, marginalize, and persecute the Jewish people for centuries," it continued.

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