Schakowsky Pushes Back on Omar Suggesting Critics Were 'Weaponizing' Anti-Semitism

June 16, 2019

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) on Saturday gave Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) some pushback after she suggested some critics were "weaponizing" anti-Semitism to silence her.

Both female Democrats appeared on CNN's Van Jones Show together, where they had a dialogue about the dangers of anti-Semitism and bringing Muslims and Jews together.

"I want to say there are people who are genuinely interested in fighting anti-Semitism," Omar said. "Then there are those who are interested in weaponizing anti-Semitism to shut down debate on whatever they might not agree on and vilify anybody that they may not want to have any kind of platform to have influence."

Omar then attempted to give herself cover over previous anti-Semitic statements by saying she wrote an op-ed in her local newspaper shortly after she won her election about the importance of fighting anti-Semitism, adding that she believes there is "connection" between her "oppression" and the oppression of Jewish people.

Schakowsky then jumped into the conversation to push back against Omar's "weaponizing" comment.

"Let me just say though—I think some of the people who were upset about what they heard as anti-Semitism keyed into the—[they] were not necessarily trying to weaponize them. This was a genuine feeling," Schakowsky said.

"Not just some, a lot of the people," Omar said, attempting to clarify.

Omar later interjected while Schakowsky was talking about their working relationship, adding there were "a lot of very loud people who might not have a genuine concern." Schakowsky then continued with her statement.

"One of the motivations for me to be public along with Ilhan was to help those people to understand where I was coming from, but even more importantly where she is coming from," Schakowsky said.

In addition to her AIPAC and "It's all about the Benjamins baby" comments, Omar has a history of using anti-Semitic rhetoric and supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel, as the Washington Free Beacon has reported:

Omar, after first wondering why Jewish Americans would be offended, recently said she used unfortunate language in a 2012 tweet where she wrote Israel had committed "evil" acts and "hypnotized the world." She recently compared Israel to Iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, and said she was amused at the idea of the Jewish state being considered a democracy.

In addition, she and Tlaib support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel, known as BDS. The BDS movement has links to Palestinian terrorist organizations. The Anti-Defamation League has condemned it, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said BDS is anti-Semitism in action.

When asked by a CNN reporter last week why she supported BDS, Omar immediately walked away.