Omar Criticizes Pelosi for Condemning BDS at AIPAC

US Representative Ilhan Omar / Getty Images
March 26, 2019

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) hit back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) following the speaker's comments during a Tuesday speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference where she condemned the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

"We must also be vigilant against bigoted or dangerous ideologies masquerading as policy, and that includes BDS," Pelosi said at AIPAC.

Omar, a vocal supporter of sanctions against Israel, responded later in the day by telling reporters on Capitol Hill that the BDS movement was an exercise of free speech.

"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 turned away from reporters and would not respond when they asked if she believed that Pelosi's comments were directed at her and fellow Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), another BDS supporter.

Pelosi also said in her AIPAC speech that "the full House came together to condemn the anti-Semitic myth of dual loyalty and all forms of bigotry," in reponse to Omar's comments last month that American Jews have an "allegiance to a foreign country."

"In our democratic societies, we should welcome legitimate debate at how best to honor our values and to advance our priorities without questioning loyalty or patriotism," Pelosi said.

"I simply declare that to be anti-Semitic is to be anti-American," Pelosi added. "It has no place in our country."

Pelosi is not the only top Democrat taking aim at Omar at AIPAC. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) told the crowd on Sunday that he stands with Israel "proudly and unapologetically,"

"When someone accuses American supporters of Israel of dual loyalty, I say: Accuse me," Hoyer said.

Hoyer also condemned the BDS movement.

"Together, we will defeat BDS because at its core, it is un-American," Hoyer told the crowd.