Ilhan Omar Gaslights Jewish Community on National TV
by Chaim Lax
In a recent interview with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on CNN’s “State of the Union,” co-host Dana Bash questioned the Democratic Congresswoman about her invocation of an antisemitic stereotype in a 2019 tweet (“all about the Benjamins”), and what she has learned following her public apology for the statement.
In response, Omar claimed that she “certainly … was not aware that the word ‘hypnotized’ was a trope. I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money. That has been a very enlightening part of this journey.”
Wow I didn’t know it was possible to lie so much in under a minute…but if anyone can do it it’s Ilhan Omar.
“I didn’t know there were stereotypes about Jews and money”
Spare me. pic.twitter.com/QLvY2JeqCG
— Emily Schrader – אמילי שריידר امیلی شریدر (@emilykschrader) January 29, 2023
Ilhan Omar’s response was swiftly met with both incredulity and ridicule on social media, and with good reason.
It is hard to believe that a woman who has spent the majority of her life in the United States (the 40-year-old Somalia native moved to America when she was 13-years old) and has held positions at universities, think tanks, and various levels of government, had never heard of any antisemitic stereotypes concerning Jews and money prior to 2019.
This is especially incredulous given that, according to a recent poll by the Anti-Defamation League, nearly a quarter of American citizens hold some sort of stereotypical belief regarding Jews, money, and power.
It is also hard to believe that Omar’s professed enlightenment on the topic was a truly transformative experience, because a year-and-a-half after she apologized for her comments, Omar’s campaign released an election mailer that questioned whether voters could trust the sources of her opponent’s money — and then only named Jewish donors.
While Omar’s claim that she was ignorant of the antisemitic trope of Jews and money seems ridiculous, it is not at all surprising.
As David Harris, the former CEO of the American Jewish Committee, noted in a 2021 piece, Omar’s use of antisemitic statements is almost formulaic: First she espouses an antisemitic claim, denies that it was antisemitic, belittles those who criticize her, and then ultimately apologizes for the remark and promises to learn from it. Then, when she inevitably rehashes these remarks, the cycle begins anew.
The staff at HonestReporting has previously called out Ilhan Omar for her cynical use of the media in order to absolve herself of any responsibility for previous antisemitic comments or to silence her critics, and we will continue to do so.
Why did @MSNBC suggest @kevinomccarthy’s plan to remove @IlhanMN from the House Foreign Affairs Committee isn’t about #antisemitism?
We brought the receipts.
Ilhan has a long report card of anti-Jewish hate – here is a quick run-down of her antisemitic biases. – @Gil_Hoffman pic.twitter.com/R7MlQTsvbh
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) January 17, 2023