Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar, a Muslim refugee from Somalia and a newly elected U.S. representative, is facing backlash for her inconsistent stance on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
In a statement to the Muslim Girl blog days after the midterm election, her campaign made it clear that the congresswoman-elect supports the movement.
“Ilhan believes in and supports the BDS movement, and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized,” a statement explained.
However, as Jordan Schachtel of Conservative Review noted, “The statement marked a stark reversal from Omar’s previous position on BDS. Prior to the election, Omar told Minnesota Jews that she was opposed to the boycott movement.”
“I think that the particular purpose for it is to put pressure, and I think that that pressure is really counteractive,” she said at the time. “Because in order for us to have a process to getting to a two-state solution, people need to be willing to come to the table.”
Omar went on to say that the BDS campaign “stops that dialogue” and is “not helpful in getting that two-state solution.”
As Forward reported, the editor of a Jewish news site contacted Omar to discuss the confusion surrounding her position.
“My position has always been the same,” she claimed.
While acknowledging she supports the movement personally, she said she has “reservations on effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution,” noting that was the sentiment she expressed during the pre-election forum.
The soon-to-be lawmaker expounded on her pro-Palestinian views during her interview with Muslim Girl.
“For me, that particular issue really is about making sure that we are people who understand that there is oppression happening, and speak to that as you would for issues that are safe,” she said.
Omar has also received criticism for her anti-Israel sentiment expressed in a tweet from 2012.
“Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” she wrote.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 16, 2012
Omar responded to a Twitter user’s criticism of the tweet in May of this year.
“Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews,” she responded. “You are a hateful sad man, I pray to Allah you get the help you need and find happiness.”