Ilhan Omar reelection reflects poorly on 5th District

Omar carries anti-Semitism into Congress


Talia Lissauer

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks to the crowd as she introduces Bernie Sanders March 2. Omar was reelected to represent Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District.

Tobias Khabie

After Ilhan Omar defeated Republican challenger Lacy Johnson to win a second term as the representative of the 5th District, I experienced a sense of confusion and hopelessness as it is perplexing to me as to how anyone can reelect her due to her history of anti-Semitism and poor performance in Congress.

Omar is anti-Semitic. As a practicing Jew, she has caused me and my community pain and anguish by her comments time and time again. Even before she was elected to Congress, her track record was stained with anti-Semitic remarks. According to Vox, in 2012 she tweeted that Israel is hypnotizing the world, which bears a strong resemblance to a common anti-Semitic trope of Jews tricking people into supporting them. 

This incident clearly didn’t matter to the 5th District as they elected her in the 2018 midterm elections to replace Keith Ellison as the new representative. Despite the fact that she held a federal public office, the anti-Semitism did not stop. In 2019, only a month after her inauguration, Omar tweeted that U.S. support of Israel was “all about the Benjamins,” drawing another parallel to the anti-Semitic ideas that Jews pay American politicians to do their bidding. She then apologized for the comments, however, following that apology, she claimed she was being targeted for anti-Semitism because she was Muslim.

While Omar’s references to anti-Semitic concepts may sound bad, her more blatant and dangerous actions are the ones that show up on the Congress floor. According to the Jerusalem Post, Omar tried to pass a resolution in the House that compared boycotting Israel to boycotting the Nazis. Not only is this harmful to the millions of Jewish families who had loved ones perish at the hands of the Nazis, but it is also comparing Israel, a democratic free country, to Nazi Germany, which was as authoritarian as can be. Omar failed to realize the insensitivity of her comments, yet her support from the 5th District remained unwavering. 

Arguably Omar’s greatest acts of anti-Semitism are her support for BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction), an organization that calls for the complete boycott of Israel and its products. To criticize a country is one thing, but to boycott it and oppose its existence is another. The organization calls for the freedom of Palestine, “From the river to the sea.” This phrase is often used by extremists to call for the complete cleansing of the land of Israelis and Jews from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. 

While Omar’s anti-Semitism should be enough of a reason not to vote for her, she also has one of the worst attendance records in Congress. According to the Star Tribune, only six members of Congress missed more votes than her in 2019. Yet 5th District voters do not seem to mind that they are being underrepresented.

Omar has caused an immense amount of pain for me and my community. Not only does she fail to do her job, but she has also greatly failed as a leader of this community. Those who voted for her decided that anti-Semitism wasn’t important enough to not vote for her. To all my fellow 5th District neighbors, we need to do better and elect someone who doesn’t bring hate and prejudice into Congress.