Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar gave a vague response on Tuesday when asked about anti-Semitism and her criticism of Israel at a “religious freedom” event hosted by the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
When asked what she has “learned about anti-Semitism from engaging in these debates,” Omar did not address anti-Semitism or Jewish people.
“A lot of the conversation often times is one that refuses really to separate, I think, discussions around the country and its policies, and when that is hatred for the people and their faith,” she said after a long pause. “I think I am at a breaking point where we are starting to have a conversation about what it means to be a people that harbor hate, and um, and the kind of journey we could all be on in fighting against discrimination collectively while still having the freedom to debate foreign policy and not only think about how we engage our allies but also how we criticize and hold them accountable.”
It’s unclear who Omar is referring to when she talks about “people that harbor hate.” Is she saying she is “at a breaking point” with Jewish people who harbor hate, or with those who harbor anti-Semitic views and spew hate against Israel?
These remarks come after recent criticism of Omar for tweeting an anti-Semitic trope that “Israel has hypnotized the world.” In an interview with Yahoo News last week, she implied that Israel’s existence as both a Jewish state and a democracy is problematic.
“When I see Israel institute, um, law that recognizes it as a Jewish state and does not recognize, um, the other religions that are living in it and we still uphold it as a democracy in the Middle East, I almost chuckle because I know that if, you know, we see that in any other society we would criticize it, or any other place that sort of upholds its religion,” she said.
Omar was also asked at CAP’s event about the religious liberty protections recently issued by the Trump administration for faith-based foster agencies in South Carolina. She seemed to imply that Christians are bigoted for wanting to place foster children with Christian families.
“It’s blatant discrimination…within the Constitution, at least my understanding of religious freedom, means you don’t use your faith to discriminate against others. What this does, allows you to live out your bigotry,” she said.