Ilhan Omar contradicts herself

Representative-elect supports anti-Israel movement despite past statements

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Ilhan Omar contradicts herself

Gabriel Kaplan

Ilhan Omar, Congressional District Five’s promising representative-elect, failed her constituents before even taking the oath of office.

As a Congresswoman, Omar’s job is to represent the people and therefore she must not speak on unfounded and erroneously based misconceptions. Unfortunately for her constituents, she did just that this past week when her campaign told a website, the MuslimGirl, that “Ilhan believes in and supports the (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement” on Nov. 11.

Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) is an anti-Israel movement that hopes to achieve peace in the region by cutting all business and economic ties with Israel, according to the Anti-Defamation League. This is an ignorant approach to a very difficult situation. As Omar herself said at a debate this past August, BDS is “not helpful in getting that two-state solution” as “the particular purpose for (BDS) is to make sure that there is pressure, and I think that pressure really is counteractive … people have to be willing to come to the table and have a conversation about how that is going to be possible and I think (BDS) stops the dialogue.”

While it seemed as if Omar understood the issue at the debate in August, her office’s statement suggests she has forgotten about the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Though there is a need for pressure to bring both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to the negotiating table, BDS is not the answer.

Such a one-sided, anti-Israel strategy is as short-sighted as President Donald Trump’s wholehearted support of the Israelis. Both approaches will do nothing but prevent peace. Neither strategy recognizes the plight of the other side, and therefore neither one will lead to a fair settlement.

Omar’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as on BDS seems to flip-flop depending on her audience. Most recently, she has shown her support for BDS, but she spoke against it just a few months ago at a Democratic Primary debate. That statement against BDS was in a synagogue filled with many Jews, most of whom likely support Israel. This makes it appear as if she was simply catering to her audience in order to win votes in the subsequent primary. Even before that, she voted against an anti-BDS bill as a state legislator and tweeted several anti-Israel messages, according to a prominent Israel newspaper, the Haaretz. Though we need a Congresswoman who will represent the beliefs of her constituents — meaning she must stand up for the Jewish community — we also need one who will not cave in to those immediately before her.

Omar was and continues to be a promising politician in regards to her political leadership, but this recent self-contradiction in support of BDS poses a serious threat to the thousands of Jews that she will represent come January.

In all other respects, Omar will likely be a great representative for her District. She has already proved herself to be a politician of firsts — the first Somali-American Muslim legislator anywhere in the country, the first Somali-American representative and one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress, according to TIME. However, if she cannot speak on behalf of all of her constituents, including the prominent West Metro Jewish community, she will have failed her most basic duty.

Omar must recant her office’s pro-BDS statements and apologize for her contradictions if she is to truly represent our District.

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