Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) now claims that she “believes in and supports” the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel despite making claims to the contrary on the campaign trail.
During an Aug. 6 primary debate, Omar called the BDS movement “counteractive” because it wouldn’t be “helpful in getting a two-state solution.”
“I support a two-state solution. I think it is going to be important for us to recognize Israel’s place in the middle-east, and the Jewish people’s rightful place within that region,” she told a crowd of Minnesotans.
The BDS movement is a controversial Palestinian-led effort that has been successful in pressuring large organizations to withdraw their investments from Israeli companies or companies that do business with Israel. Additionally, it encourages governments to impose sanctions on Israel and expel the nation from international forums, according to the movement’s website.
After winning her election for Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District, Omar told Muslim Girl that she “believes in and supports the BDS movement, and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized.”
“She does, however, have reservations on the effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution,” Omar’s congressional campaign said in a statement.
During her term in the Minnesota House, Omar was in fact one of just two lawmakers to vote against a bill limiting insurance payments “to beneficiaries of persons furthering terrorism.”
“I don’t want to be a part of a vote that limits the ability of people to fight towards that justice and peace,” Omar said of her vote against the bill.
One of the organizers of the August debate, Rabbi Avi Oltitzky of Minnesota’s Beth El Synagogue, expressed concern over Omar’s latest comments in an interview with Forward.
“She’s either misrepresenting or misunderstanding. And I hope to be able to have a dialogue with her that clarifies which of those is the nature of her stance,” he said, saying that “this starts her tenure off on the wrong foot.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) later chimed in on Twitter and called Omar’s comments “alarming.”
“BDS doesn’t just criticize Israel’s gov., it denies its right to exist as a Jewish state. [Omar] also said she supports a two-state solution,” ADL wrote. “Rep.-elect Omar, you owe it to your constituents to clarify your views.”
This is alarming. BDS doesn't just criticize Israel's gov., it denies its right to exist as a Jewish State. @IlhanMN also said she supports a two-state solution. Rep-Elect Omar, you owe it to your new constituents to clarify your views https://t.co/KkTFFfuPu8
— ADL (@ADL_National) November 15, 2018
In response, Omar spoke with Minnesota’s TC Jewfolk about her comments, saying her “position has always been the same.”
“I believe [in] and support the BDS movement, and have fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized,” she said in a text. “I do, however, have reservations on effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution, which is what I believe I said at the forum.”
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