February 20, 2019

Report: Minnesota Jewish Leaders Were ‘Very Troubled’ After Meeting Rep. Omar in 2018

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) leaves the U.S. Senate chamber and walks back to the House of Representatives side of the Capitol with colleagues after watching the failure of both competing Republican and Democratic proposals to end the partial government shutdown in back to back votes on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 24, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

A new report from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press states that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) met with local Jewish leaders in her congressional district in 2018 about anti-Semitism, and they were “very troubled” by her answer.

Minnesota Democratic State Sen. Ron Latz told the Pioneer Press that he and several other Jewish leaders discussed their anti-Semitism concerns with Omar for over two hours, which included their concern over Omar’s tweet that Israel has “hypnotized the world.”

We shared with her our concerns for things, including language that has references and meanings beyond just the meanings of words,” Latz said. “Tropes, dog whistles — call them what you will. We explained to her how hurtful, and factually inaccurate, they were.”

Latz added that the majority of the Jewish leaders she met with, himself included, were “very troubled by the answers we received.”

“I was not convinced she was going to give a balanced approach to policy in the Middle East, and I was not convinced … where her heart is on these things,” Latz said.

For instance, Latz told Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) that when they shared their concerns with Omar about her Israel hypnosis tweet, “she didn’t seem to recognize the seriousness of the trope.”

Omar had publicly defended her tweet at least three times before saying in a Twitter thread that she didn’t know that she had used an anti-Semitic trope.

Latz told the Pioneer Press that he had hoped that Omar would be more “careful” with her rhetoric, however, her most recent tweets accusing AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] of buying support for Israel shows that “she keeps repeating her mistakes, if you can call them that.”

At some point, it becomes a little tired to hear her say she’s being ‘educated,’” Latz added.

Omar said in a statement to the Pioneer Press, “I value the close relationship I have with leaders throughout the 5th District, including members of the Jewish community.”

“I look forward to continuing a relationship based on open dialogue, mutual respect, and combating hatred and intolerance towards all persecuted communities,” she added.