Ilhan Omar on Calling Israel 'Evil': Those Were 'The Only Words I Could Think About Expressing at That Moment'

January 16, 2019

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) on Tuesday defended a previous tweet in which she called Israel "evil" and said the Jewish state "has hypnotized the world," saying that those were "the only words I could think about expressing at that moment."

Omar appeared on CNN International's "Amanpour," where host Christiane Amanpour asked the congresswoman about her controversial comments about Israel.

"Should Jewish Americans be worried about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib because of the BDS movement, because of one of the tweets you made a long time ago?" Amanpour asked. "You are part of a new wave of Democrats not afraid to be critical of the government of Israel."

Amanpour then read Omar's tweet from 2012 during an Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

"How do you put that into context now and what do you say to American Jews?" Amanpour asked.

"I remember when that was happening, watching TV and really feeling as if no other life was being impacted in this war, and those unfortunate words were the only words I could think about expressing at that point," Omar said.

She went on to say that there is a "difference" between criticizing a military action by a government that has "exercised really oppressive policies" and attacking "particular people of faith."

Omar, who was sworn into Congress earlier this month, has a history of making controversial comments about Israel. She recently appeared to insinuate that Israel is guilty of oppression.

"I know that so many of the progresses[sic] that this nation has achieved came about because people were willing to speak up and ask for change, and so we cannot here in the United States say to people that they can't raise their voice, that they can't use the resources that they have to oppose oppression wherever it might exist," she said on Sunday.