Ilhan Omar Calls Israel Undemocratic, Laments Strong U.S. Support

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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) on Tuesday lamented that the United States strongly supports Israel and considers the Jewish state, the only democracy in the Middle East, a democratic state.

In an interview on Yahoo News' "Through Her Eyes," Zainab Salbi asked Omar how the U.S. can "work productively toward a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

"By having an equal approach to dealing with both," Omar responded, adding that the U.S. has "had a policy that makes one [Israel] superior to the other" and "clearly prioritize one over the other."

When pressed to provide specifics, Omar referenced Israel's Jewish nation-state law, which was passed last year and affirms that Israel is the "nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, religious, and historic right to self-determination."

"When I see Israel institute a law that recognizes it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it, and we still uphold it as a democracy in the Middle East, I almost chuckle," she said.

Despite Omar's claim, the law, which is similar to constitutional provisions in several European countries, does not create individual privileges for any Israeli citizens, nor does it infringe on the individual rights of any citizens. Israel does not have an official religion, including Judaism.

Omar then compared Israel to Iran, an Islamist theocracy that human rights organizations have castigated for abusing minority groups.

"If we see [something like the nation-state law] in any other society, we would criticize it. We would call it out. We do that to Iran. We do that to any other place that sort of upholds its religion," she said.

Omar did not mention that Palestinian Basic Law states that "Islam is the official religion in Palestine" and that "the principles of Islamic Shari'a shall be the main source of legislation."

Omar's criticism came after she acknowledged last seek that her defense of a tweet from 2012 in which she called Israel "evil" and accused the Jewish state of "hypnotizing the world" was "unfortunate and offensive." She issued an apology that never mentioned Israel specifically.

Omar's full interview with Yahoo News is below:

Mikhael Smits

Mikhael Smits   Email Mikhael | Full Bio | RSS
Mikhael Smits is a Public Interest Fellow and Media Analyst at the Washington Free Beacon. He's interested in law, security policy, and today's outrage. Reach him on Twitter @mikhaelsmits or smits@freebeacon.com.

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