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'No way in hell': Rep. Ilhan Omar to boycott Israeli president's speech to US Congress

Omar has history of anti-Israel comments, was removed from House committee early this year

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks during a press conference at Capitol Hill in Washington DC, June 14, 2022. (Photo: Lenin Nolly/NurPhoto)

U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) announced emphatically Wednesday that she would not be attending Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s speech at a joint session of Congress next week. 

Posting a series of comments to social media, the Democratic representative from Minnesota wrote: “There is no way in hell I am attending the joint session address from a President whose country has banned me and denied Rashida Tlaib the ability to see her grandma.” 

In her series of posts, Omar also commented on the Israeli judicial reforms calling them “a judicial coup to centralize power and undermine checks on their power.” 

Omar implied that Israel is solely responsible for “the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank history.”

She refrained from mentioning that many of the Palestinians killed by the Israel Defense Forces this year were terrorists eliminated during firefights with Israeli soldiers. 

Last year, Herzog was invited to give a speech celebrating Israel’s 75th anniversary to a joint session of Congress by former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That invitation was re-extended by current Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. 

In August 2019, Israel barred Omar and Tlaib from entering the country in an official capacity due to their support for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel. The Israeli government agreed to allow Tlaib to visit her grandmother in a personal capacity, if she agreed to respect Israeli law and refrain from supporting BDS during her visit. Tlaib refused to accept those terms and, as a result, did not visit her grandmother. 

Omar has come under fire from Democrats in the past for her previous antisemitic statements and criticism of Israel, as well as those lobbying for Israel. 

In 2021, Omar was called out by a group of 12 Jewish Democrats when she made comments accusing the U.S. and Israel of “crimes against humanity” on the level with Hamas, Afghanistan and the Taliban. 

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” Omar posted. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.” 

Earlier this year, House Republicans voted to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, specifically citing her anti-Israel comments and questioning her objectivity. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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