Pro-Israeli Demonstrators Rally Outside Ilhan Omar Event in L.A.

Democratic Congresswoman Omar tells California event that Trump’s anti-Islam remarks inspire attacks like New Zealand shooting

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., listens as Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russ Vought testifies before the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 12, 2019.
Susan Walsh/AP

Hundreds of protesters rallied outside an event in Los Angeles, California on Saturday where U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota spoke to a Muslim-American civil rights group.

The demonstrators were protesting Omar's presence at the fundraising event for the Council of American-Islamic Relations of Greater Los Angeles.

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Omar has drawn criticism for her recent remarks on Israel, including comments that American supporters of Israel are pushing people to have “allegiance to a foreign country.” Omar later apologized, saying “anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes.”

The Los Angeles Daily News reported that the protesters lined a sidewalk area outside the Hilton Hotel in Woodland Hills, waving Israeli flags. A smaller group of counter-protesters held up signs in support of Omar.

While speaking inside the hotel, Omar linked U.S. President Donald Trump's rhetoric to recent mass shooting at a New Zealand mosque. “We all kind of knew that this was happening,” she said. “But the reason I think that many of us knew that this was going to get worse is that we finally had a leader in the White House who publicly says Islam hates us, who fuels hate against Muslims, who thinks it is OK to speak about a faith and a whole community in a way that is dehumanizing, vilifying.”

On Thursday, Adam Milstein, a major pro-Israel funder, withdrew from speaking at the annual AIPAC policy conference following a series of tweets in which he accused Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib of clashing with “American values.”

In a flurry of tweets Monday, Milstein sought to connect Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib to the Muslim Brotherhood, citing little or no evidence.

The tweet linked to a site that did not offer any evidence Omar or Tlaib were allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group affiliated with Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip.

Both Tlaib and Omar have embraced the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, to different degrees. Omar has caused tensions in the House Democratic caucus with statements perceived as invoking anti-Semitic slanders, including claiming that she felt pressured to pledge “allegiance” to Israel. She has apologized for some of the statements, and a congressional resolution overwhelmingly approved earlier this month condemned anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and particularly the invocation of dual loyalty.

Milstein retweeted a video claiming that Omar “admitted” to taking “terrorism classes.” In the video, she is referring to classes on terrorism that she took at North Dakota State University when she obtained a political science degree. Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani shared the same misleading video late last week with the caption, "What is she laughing at in recalling her terrorism classes? This represents the future of the Democrat Party? God help us."