Hayes: Omar Is One of the 'Most Consistent' Voices on Human Rights in the Middle East

Chris Hayes / Getty
April 10, 2019

MSNBC's All In host Chris Hayes tweeted Tuesday that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) is "one of the most consistent voices for human rights in the Middle East across the various governments and regimes."

This came in response to Omar tweeting a Slate article about Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi possibly becoming a "dictator" with help from the Trump administration. Omar said, "No ally is above reproach" and Hayes commended her.

In one respect, Hayes is right to say that Omar is consistent: The freshman Congresswoman has repeatedly come under fire for supporting the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment Movement, which encourages placing sanctions on Israel, the United States's closest ally in the Middle East.

Omar's sustained opposition to Israel has sown division among Democrats. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) condemned Omar's stance on BDS in March, while speaking at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, saying, "We must also be vigilant against bigoted or dangerous ideologies masquerading as policy, and that includes BDS."

Omar hit back at Pelosi later in the day, while speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill.

"A condemnation for people that want to exercise their First Amendment rights is beneath any leader, and I hope that we find a better use of language when we are trying to speak as members of Congress that are sworn to protect the Constitution," Omar said.

Omar came under fire from Democrats and Republicans alike after she made comments in February implying that Jewish Americans have an allegiance to a foreign power. Pelosi said that Omar's opposition to Israel was uninformed, before the House passed a resolution condemning all hate, but not anti-Semitism specifically.

"When you cross that threshold into Congress, your words weigh much more than when you're shouting at somebody outside, and I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude, but that she didn't have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people, where these words have a history and cultural impact that may have been unknown to her," Pelosi said.