Omar’s words speak for themselves
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar has a knack for getting herself into trouble with her words. This week, for the second time in her short career as a U.S. Representative she has had to backtrack on words she has use,d in relation to the Middle East, Israel and Palestine.
In 2019 she tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” in reference to AIPAC, a pro-Israeli lobbying group. She apologized for the statement, which many felt revived an anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews care only for money.
This week, in a tweet about a conference in which she is seeking justice for all victims of crimes against humanity, she said “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I asked @SecBlinken (Secretary of State Anthony Blinken) where people are supposed to go for justice.”
She backtracked later, saying in no way was she comparing the U.S. to Hamas and the Taliban in the commission of war crimes.
However, if one has to keep explaining that one’s words don’t mean what they seem to mean, it means you weren’t thinking very straight when you said them in the first place. In Omar’s case, these tweets, unfiltered by more careful thinking, may be indicative of her real feelings.
We understand that Omar, a Somali-born American, and a Muslim woman, may have views on the Israeli-Palestinian situation that differ from mainstream U.S. Mideast policy. That’s fine. But she needs to be sure she is saying what she really means when she says it. There are many critics willing to twist her words. In this case, there’s not much twisting needed.