Candidate to Replace Keith Ellison May Be Even More Hostile to Israel
Within three short hours of Congressman Keith Ellison’s announcement that he would leave Congress to run for Minnesota Attorney General, Minneapolis State Representative Ilhan Omar became a candidate to replace him. Omar became the first Somali Muslim legislator in 2016, defeating 22-term State Representative Phyllis Kahn.
Ellison’s tenure in Congress has been marked by concerns that he is hostile to Israel, compounded when the Investigative Project on Terrorism obtained a 2010 recording in which Ellison complained that Israel enjoys disproportionate influence over US foreign policy.
But given what Omar says on social media, including comments before her run for office, she also appears explicitly and openly hostile toward Israel.
In the wake of last month’s violence at the Israel-Gaza border, Omar blasted what she called “Israeli crimes” and called Israel’s response a massacre. Palestinians and their advocates tried to cast the violence as unprovoked and coming amid peaceful protests. In reality, a senior Hamas official admitted that the Palestinian border protests were “not peaceful resistance” and another Hamas leader bragged that the overwhelming majority of those killed were members of the terrorist group.
Omar has not commented on those facts or lamented the damage that Hamas does to everyday life in Gaza — sacrificing civilian projects in order to invest in future terrorist operations. Instead, she lets stand claims that Israel alone is to blame.
She also has worked with people and groups that share her enmity towards Israel. Omar served on the advisory board for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Minnesota chapter and has spoken at numerous CAIR events with Zahra Billoo and Linda Sarsour.
Internal records seized by the FBI show that CAIR was formed by Muslim Brotherhood officials in the United States to serve a broader Hamas support network called the Palestine Committee. Billoo has repeatedly argued that there is no moral distinction between ISIS and the Israeli army. Sarsour is a rabid anti-Zionist who literally embraced convicted Palestinian terrorist bomber Rasmea Odeh. In addition, Sarsour hails ultra-conservative clerics.
Omar also appears in a new video by the pop music act Maroon 5. That prompted a Twitter exchange in which a writer called her a “Jew-hater.”
“Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews,” Omar shot back.
The video also features Israeli actress and “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, an Israeli citizen and veteran of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
It’s not clear whether Omar knew that she would share the screen with Gadot, or whether that might have caused her to reconsider participating in the video. As this new campaign begins, we might soon find out.
Steven Emerson is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, a non-profit organization that serves one of the world’s largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.