Peak Ilhan Omar In Response to Questions on Antisemitism

In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, Rep. Ilhan Omar is asked about antisemitism and the accusations of it she has faced.

Her responses are peak Ilhan Omar.

Do you believe there’s a connection between what you’re describing — the way you’re interpreted — and the accusations of that you’ve received? I mean, there are a lot of preconceived notions about what thoughts and ideologies I have that have no basis in reality. It’s the same way in which people filter everything through, like, “anti-American,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. I wouldn’t run for Congress to be part of the American government if I was anti-American. It’s all dependent on whom you’re talking to. You could talk to Muslims, and they’ll say, “Because she grew up in America, she doesn’t really like Muslims.” Talk to Arabs, and they’re like, “She’s African.” Anything that I say or do will be filtered to create an excuse of why they now are trying to call me a bigot

Translation: The antisemitism accusations are bogus, and I take absolutely no responsibility for my comments or the hurt they caused in the Jewish community.

I’m curious about whether your being made to think about anti-Semitism has caused any changes or filled in any gaps in your understanding of what anti-Semitism is and how it works. I think a lot of people have gaps in their understanding of what it is. It’s been important to understand the ways in which people experience it. In the process of writing a few of the op-eds I’ve written on the rise of anti-Semitism in comparison to the rise of Islamophobia, it has been interesting to see the ways in which so many people create a lens through which they see it. It is important, when you are not of that community, to understand the different ways that bigotry shows up. It has always been a disappointment as a minority when I communicate with people and they’re like: “That’s not Islamophobia. That’s not anti-Blackness.” But I am telling you: “This is my experience! This is how these things impact me!” So I have brought that lens of frustration to this conversation. I’m not going to say, “That’s not that” because I know what it feels like for me when somebody is dismissive of what I’m expressing. If you’re an ally, it’s your job to learn and to be supportive. That’s what I expect of allies, and that’s how I behave as an ally.

Translation: I refuse to answer the question specifically; instead I’ll answer it with a general “some people do something” type response, followed by a “Hey look over there! Islamophobia! Anti-Blackness!” deflection. Did I mention I wrote some op-eds on the rise of antisemitism? I’ll just leave that here too…

Oh, and I would never be dismissive of how others feel – even though I have shown I already am.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media