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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is done apologizing, and Twitter is here for it.
Last month, Omar, one of the first two Muslim women to be elected into Congress, came under intense scrutiny when she questioned the relationship between a pro-Israel lobbyist group and politicians in a series of tweets. House leaders, headed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, released a statement deeming the tweets “anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations.”
“We have a foreign policy that really has been I think detrimental to our security, detrimental to uplifting and living up to American ideals, one that has been detrimental in having positive American outlook around the world,” she said.
She also said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
Her comments led to many criticize her, again, for supposed “anti-Semitic” rhetoric, with House Democrats reportedly considering to vote on a new resolution on anti-Semitism.
Over the weekend, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) even “urged” Omar to withdraw her statement, to which Omar responded, unapologetically:
Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that! https://t.co/gglAS4FVJW— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 3, 2019
I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 3, 2019
It’s obvious that Omar, who bowed down the first time, is going to fight this one out. And those rallying for her showed up on Twitter with #IStandWithIlhan, with many trying to explain that being against Israel’s policies are not the same as being anti-Semitic.
The idea that someone who *literally fled war*, and spent her entire professional career fighting for the marginalized -- in the wake of partisan-sponsored death threats -- should be subject to peer condemnation is so unconscionable and sickening. #IStandWithIlhan— Kumar Rao (@KumarRaoNYC) March 5, 2019
#IStandWithIlhan because Muslim women of color are always silenced. We have a racist president who most conservatives refuse to say anything negative about, yet have all the time to be angry anytime Rep. Omar opens her mouth. Racism at its finest. We will NOT be silenced.— Preston Mitchum (@PrestonMitchum) March 5, 2019
.@RepTomReed I just told Congress calling out AIPAC & stating pro-Israel forces push "allegiance to a foreign country" is NOT antisemitic @ilhanMN is a brave congresswoman standing up for the people of Palestine Yemen & Venezuela - Join me #IStandWithIlhan— Ariel Gold #NoWarWithIran ☮️ (@ArielElyseGold) March 4, 2019
I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT:— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) March 5, 2019
According to many non-Jewish right-wingers & establishment dems, it has come to my attention that I (as a Jew) must be anti-Semitic b/c I criticize Israeli policies like @IlhanMN. Sorry to my other anti-Semitic Jewish brothers & sisters. #IStandWithIlhan
I am so disgusted by my fellow Jews for these attacks on Rep. Omar. That our government is spending time condemning her for speaking truth while Black people are being systemically killed by police and white nationalism is on the rise is beyond disgraceful. #IStandWithIlhan— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) March 5, 2019
Many brought up the layers in Omar’s identity as a Black, Muslim refugee that make her all the more a target for attacks.
The attacks on Ilhan Omar are just as much about her being a Black woman, as they are bout her being Muslim.— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 5, 2019
We can’t continue to let her be persecuted. They are trying to make an example of her, and we can’t let that happen. We can’t let Ilhan be silenced. #IStandWithIlhan
I'm feeling really hopeful seeing all of the solidarity under #IStandWithIlhan. The anti-black racism and Islamophobia has been disgusting, but there is something inspiring here.— TayGo (@taygogoinactive) March 5, 2019
I hope this can bring us closer to justice for Palestinians, too. Acceptable discourse is changing.
NON-JEWS: Stop weaponizing antisemitism for your cynical anti-Muslim and anti-Black attempts to silence and smear Ilhan Omar. You do not speak for us and you are not allies in our struggle.#IStandWithIlhan because criticizing Israel and the pro-Israel lobby is not antisemitic.— (((Chase Carter))) (@chasemcarter) March 3, 2019
Not trying to come across as judgmental but sometimes it feels like @IlhanMN is getting the same sort of treatment for being “Muslim” as President Obama once got for being “black.” Yes, I’m calling out the endless racism, bigotry and hatred! It’s disturbing! #IStandWithIlhan— MuslimMarine (@mansoortshams) March 4, 2019
The Israeli government is not a proxy for me as a Jew. Criticizing our policy toward it is not analogous to being anti-Semitic. Netanyahu is not my voice and he does not speak for me or the Jewish people.— Jeremy Rosenberg (@JeremyR1992) March 5, 2019
So disappointed tonight. #IStandWithIlhan #StandWithIlhan https://t.co/cftucDDo0D
Many are still reeling from the recent Islamophobic attack against Omar at the West Virginia House of Delegates, in which a poster showed her face against the burning towers from 9/11. Some were quick to point out the lack of action (or reaction) to this incident, while politicians were being so vocal about her comments from last week’s event.
This is spineless, and further highlights the corruption of the party. Not a condemnation of the Islamophobic threats on her life or the frequent antisemitism of GOP folks, but this. Remember these politicians when they come to you for votes next time. #IStandWithIlhan https://t.co/B9bsiwg5hs— Omar Suleiman (@omarsuleiman504) March 4, 2019
Legitimate criticism of Israel isn’t anti-Semitism. It’s a First Amendment right. Sad to see House Democrats spend more energy condemning Ilhan Omar than denouncing the racist attacks against her and the very real anti-Semitism from Jim Jordan and Steve King. #IStandWithIlhan— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) March 4, 2019
The #IStandWithIlhan hashtag is a campaign by the Jewish Voice for Peace, which “seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.” The campaign reportedly started following the backlash for her comments last month, according to the #IStandWithIlhan website.
Jewish Voice for Peace did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comments.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque