WATCH

Ilhan Omar Says She Used 'Unfortunate Words' in 2012 Tweet Criticized as anti-Semitic

The freshman congresswoman added that she believes in calling out any country responsible of human rights violations - including Arab countries like Saudi Arabia

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar listens during a news conference on prescription drugs at the Capitol in Washington, DC., on January 10, 2019.
AFP

Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, said on Wednesday that she had used "unfortunate words" in a 2012 tweet in which she wrote Israel had "hypnotized the world."

"I remember watching TV when that was happening," she said in a TV interview referring to the days of Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza in 2012, "Those unfortunate words were the only ones I could think about expressing at that moment."

>> As a Muslim woman, Ilhan Omar’s 'As-salaam aleikum' made me uncomfortable | Opinion

Ilhan Omar Defends Her Comment Accusing Israel of 'Evil Doings'

The tweet, which read "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel," was brought up by critics after Ilhan Omar's election to Congress for its alleged anti-Semitic undertones.

"What is important to me is that people recognize that there's a difference between criticizing a military action by a government that has exercised really oppressive policies and being offensive or attacky to particular people of faith," she added.

Omar has expressed support for the BDS Movement in several occasions in the past and holds staunchly anti-Israeli positions.

Omar added, however, she believes in calling out any country responsible of human rights violations - including Arab countries like Saudi Arabia.   

"I say the same things if not worse when it comes to the Saudi government," she said. "I've called for boycotts of Hajj, and boycotts of Saudi Arabia, because to me it is important when you see oppression taking place - when you see regression - when you see our values being attacked as humans, you must stand up, and it doesn't matter who the inhabiters of that particular region might be."