J Street: Anti-Semitism Charges Against Omar Are ‘Reckless’

Criticisms of Omar are 'politically motivated'

Ilhan Omar / Getty Images

Liberal advocacy group J Street defended Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) against accusations of anti-Semitism, telling the Washington Times such charges are "reckless."

Logan Bayroff, communications director for the group, told the Times that criticisms of Omar were "politically motivated" and undermined bipartisan efforts to support Israel.

Other groups differed on whether or not Omar's controversial remarks required forceful pushback from her fellow lawmakers. The American Jewish Congress criticized the perceived "weaponization of the charges of anti-Semitism," and asked that politicians "avoid accusing their fellow politicians of heinous crimes." However, the Jewish Institute for the National Security of America told the Times that Omar's comments were "purely anti-Semitic," however they were not representative of the larger Democratic Party.

Omar has a long history of making offensive statements regarding Israel's role in American politics. In 2012, she tweeted that "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel." After the tweet was widely criticized as anti-Semitic, Omar eventually apologized, tweeting that she "spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy is disavowing the anti-semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive."

In February of this year, Omar tweeted that pro-Israel politicians were being bought by the pro-Israel lobbying firm AIPAC, and apologized once again after receiving intense criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and other congressional Democrats.

However, later that month, Omar once again trafficked in anti-Semitism when she accused U.S. politicians of having a dual loyalty to Israel and speculated that her Jewish colleagues accusing her of anti-Semitism because they were Islamaphobic. "I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country," she said.

The House passed a broad resolution condemning all forms of bigotry that was watered down to remove a direct rebuke of Omar. Last month, the Minnesota representative said she does not regret her anti-Semitic comments, and insisted she was not anti-Semitic. She also co-sponsored a resolution supporting the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement against Israel, and voted against an overwhelmingly supported resolution that condemned the movement.

Last year, Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praised J Street for "their efforts to support the peace process within American society" and accused the Trump Administration of bringing the peace process to a "dead end."