US lawmaker says she ‘unknowingly’ used anti-Semitic trope in Israel criticism
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US lawmaker says she ‘unknowingly’ used anti-Semitic trope in Israel criticism

Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar says she didn’t know that accusing Israel of ‘hypnotizing the world’ was offensive

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., center, walks through the halls of the Capitol Building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP/Andrew Harnik)
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., center, walks through the halls of the Capitol Building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Freshman US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Tuesday said she “unknowingly” used an anti-Semitic trope to criticize Israel in 2012, but the Minnesota Democrat insisted she won’t shy away from future criticism of the Jewish state.

Responding to a New York Times op-ed that criticized her 2012 comment accusing Israel of “hypnotizing the world” to carry out “evil,” Omar said she was unaware of the “ugly sentiment” that accompanied the remark.

“In all sincerity, it was after my CNN interview that I heard from Jewish orgs. that my use of the word ‘Hypnotize’ and the ugly sentiment it holds was offensive,” she tweeted.

The tweet, which said that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” came in reaction to Israel’s November 2012 operation against the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

“It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy iמ disavowing the anti-Semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive,” she continued.

Earlier this month, Omar defended her tweet. “Those unfortunate words were the only words I could think about expressing at that moment,” Omar told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview.

In her tweet thread on Tuesday, Omar indicated she would continue to criticize Israeli military activity in Gaza.

“With that said, it is important to distinguish between criticizing a military action by a government and attacking a particular people of faith. I will not shy away of criticism of any government when I see injustice — whether it be Saudi Arabia, Somalia, even our own government!” she wrote.

Omar — who supports the boycott Israel movement — was appointed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee last Thursday.

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