ZOA Criticizes Rep. Omar Who Calls For Sanctions on Ally Israel, But Decries Sanctions on Enemies Iran, Cuba & Venezuela
News Press Release
January 13, 2020

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned Representative Ilhan Omar (D–MN) for the hypocrisy of her respective stances on sanctions against Iran and sanctions against Israel. 


This week, at a press conference, Rep. Omar condemned the Trump Administration’s intended sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, saying that President Trump had “announced crippling sanctions to starve the innocent people of Iran.” She also claimed that sanctions are “economic warfare” and that sanctions had “already caused medical shortages and countless deaths in Iran.” Yet, at the same time, Rep Omar and her Muslim female colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D–MI), have both come out in support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to economically harm the Jewish State of Israel with a path to its international ostracism and eventual elimination (Danielle Wallace, ‘Omar draws ire for condemning Iran sanctions as ‘crippling’ while backing anti-Israel BDS movement,’ Fox News, January 9, 2020).


As one Twitter critic observed, “Ilhan Omar views sanctions on terror regimes to be ‘economic warfare’ but supports them when aimed at the world’s only Jewish state.”


Rep. Omar, in her short Congressional career thus far, has opposed economic sanctions on the dictatorships ruling in Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, but remains a leading voice for their imposition on Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy and the closest ally of the United States. This is despite the fact that, last July, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan resolution opposing the anti-Semitic BDS movement. Representatives Omar, Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D–NY) were among the 16 Democrats who voted against the resolution.


Rep. Omar has blamed Hamas rocket attacks upon Israel on Israel’s non-existent occupation of Gaza (which ended completely in 2005) and obscured the Muslim terrorist group Hamas’ aggression behind routine boilerplate rhetoric about an “endless cycle of violence.” Prior to her election in the 2018 midterms, Rep. Omar misled voters by falsely purporting to oppose Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) against Israel that, since being elected, she now admits to supporting


In a 2012 tweet which followed Israeli military operations in Gaza following terrorists firing rockets into Israel, Omar conjured up age-old anti-Semitic tropes of vast and sinister Jewish power and manipulation: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” (She continued to defend her tweet for years until continuing controversy impelled her to back away somewhat in 2017, claiming not to understand in what way Jews found it offensive. She eventually admitted her tweet was offensive and belatedly deleted it, but never backed away from her calling Israel “evil.”)


Since arriving in Congress, Rep. Omar has made further anti-Semitic statements, like baselessly asserting that supporters of Israel are attempting to get American lawmakers to have “allegiance to a foreign country” and that Jewish money bribes legislators to support Israel.


In a May 2018 tweet, Omar maligned the Jewish state as the “apartheid Israeli regime,” a statement that, on a purely intellectual level, is either knowingly false or astoundingly ignorant. 


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein and Chair Mark Levenson, Esq. said, “We strongly condemn Representative Omar’s breathtaking and cynical hypocrisy in decrying the imposition of sanctions on American enemies and squalid dictatorships like Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, but positively urges the imposition of sanctions upon Israel, the Middle East’s only functioning democracy and our closest ally.


“Such stances cannot be morally or strategically justified. Indeed, her positions stand condemned on both grounds. 


“Rep. Omar’s preferred course of action would see Israel placed under harmful sanctions, weakening its deterrent power and thereby stimulating the prospect of renewed war and bloodshed, while U.S. enemies like Cuba and Iran would be enriched and emboldened by sanctions relief, as indeed they were in the last years of the Obama Administration.


“The ZOA remains dismayed that the Democratic leadership has seen fit to appoint and retain Rep. Omar on the House Foreign Relations Committee, where she is clearly out of her depth as well as hostile to U.S. allies, indulgent of U.S. enemies and thus harmful to U.S. interests.”


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