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“In 2012, during one of Israel’s periodic wars with Hamas in Gaza, Ilhan Omar, at the time a 32-year-old nutrition coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Education, tweeted the following: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel”
The sentence has dogged Ms. Omar, a refugee from Somalia who last year became one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress and was just seated on the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee. On Thursday, CNN’s Poppy Harlow pressed her again: “I wonder just what your message is this morning as the first on our Game Changer series to Jewish-Americans who find that deeply offensive.”
“That’s a really regrettable way of expressing that,” Ms. Omar said of the anchor’s question. “I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans. My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza War and I’m clearly speaking about the way the Israeli regime was conducting itself in that war.”
Perhaps Ms. Omar is sincerely befuddled and not simply deflecting. Because sentiments like these, once beyond the pale of our public discourse, are being heard with greater frequency and volume these days, allow me to explain why this Jewish American, and almost every Jewish American I know, found her words so offensive.”
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