Friday January 18, 2019
By ERIC CORTELLESSA
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., center, walks through the halls of the Capitol Building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP/Andrew Harnik)
Day after appearing to defend comment that Israel ‘hypnotized the world,’ Minnesota Democrat says she will use position to probe influence of foreign lobbies on Washington
WASHINGTON — Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar — who supports the boycott Israel movement and who once said that Israel “hypnotized the world” — was appointed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday.
The assignment, chosen by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will give a vehement critic of the Jewish a state a voice — and a vote — on the powerful panel that oversees US foreign policy and foreign aid.
The freshman Democratic legislator announced the posting on Twitter, saying the assignment would put her on a panel that “oversees all foreign assistance, national security affecting the country’s foreign policy, treaties, peacekeeping and war powers.”
While Omar did not mention Israel, she did gesture her eagerness to work toward fundamentally changing America’s relationship with another Middle Eastern ally.
“We need to investigate how foreign governments and their lobbyists have violated our laws,” she said. “And we need to reign in arms sales to human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia.
One of only two members of Congress who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, Omar has accused the country of committing “evil.” “In 2012, amid an Israel-Hamas Gaza conflict, she tweeted: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.”
Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., smiles during an interview following a photo opportunity on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, with the freshman class. (AP/Susan Walsh)
Omar, a Somali-born refugee from Ethiopia, is part of a new wave of freshmen Democrats ascending the US Capitol after the 2018 midterm elections in which Democrats gained 40 seats in the House. Along with Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib, she is one of two members of Congress to back the BDS movement.