US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has asserted that Israel is the homeland of the Palestinian people.
In an op-ed published late Sunday on The Washington Post website, Omar wrote that “the founding of Israel 70 years ago was built on the Jewish people’s connection to their historical homeland, as well as the urgency of establishing a nation in the wake of the horror of the Holocaust and the centuries of antisemitic oppression leading up to it. Many of the founders of Israel were themselves refugees who survived indescribable horrors.
“We must acknowledge that this is also the historical homeland of Palestinians,” she continued.
The Minnesota representative said that “without a state, the Palestinian people live in a state of permanent refugeehood and displacement. This, too, is a refugee crisis, and they, too, deserve freedom and dignity.”
Omar, a Muslim, is herself a survivor of war and a refugee. She wrote about how she fled Somalia at age 8 and then lived for four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, “where I experienced and witnessed unspeakable suffering from those who, like me, had lost everything because of war.”
She called on the government to approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a “balanced, inclusive” way that recognizes the shared desire for security and freedom of both peoples.
“I support a two-state solution, with internationally recognized borders, which allows for both Israelis and Palestinians to have their own sanctuaries and self-determination,” she wrote. “This has been official bipartisan US policy across two decades and has been supported by each of the most recent Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as the consensus of the Israeli security establishment.”
She noted that to achieve peace in the region, everyone involved must be held accountable for their actions.
“When I criticize certain Israeli government actions in Gaza or settlements in the West Bank, it is because I believe these actions not only threaten the possibility of peace in the region – they also threaten the United States’ own national security interests,” Omar said.
The column comes on the backdrop of several statements by Omar that were marked as antisemitic by Democrats and Republicans alike. Last month, she accused AIPAC of paying officials to be pro-Israel. She has also appeared as a keynote speaker at more than one event sponsored by anti-Israel and/or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions-supporting organizations,
Even before taking office, in 2012 she tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized” the world, which many considered bought into age-old antisemitic motifs.