After sparking divisive debate, Omar calls for ‘inclusive’ US foreign policy
Rep. Ilhan Omar, a freshman Minnesota Democrat whose criticisms of Israel have opened a divisive debate with the party, called her foreign policy vision in a Washington Post op-ed “inclusive,” supporting a “peaceful two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Omar, a Somali refugee and one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, wrote that the US must value human rights equally among “our friends and our enemies” and reject the “blind eye to repression” in Saudi Arabia.
“I believe in an inclusive foreign policy — one that centers on human rights, justice and peace as the pillars of America’s engagement in the world, one that brings our troops home and truly makes military action a last resort,” she wrote. “This is a vision that centers on the experiences of the people directly affected by conflict, that takes into account the long-term effects of U.S. engagement in war and that is sincere about our values regardless of short-term political convenience.”
In their first few months in control of the House, Democrats have sought to rebuke some of Omar’s comments they said were offensive. In one tweet, she connected politicians’ support of Israel to campaign money donated by groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” she tweeted. In another from 2012, Omar said that “Israel has hypnotized the world.”
She apologized after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders demanded one.
Earlier this month, the House passed a resolution broadly condemning hate, including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim discrimination, in the wake of another controversy sparked by Omar, who said at an event, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
A couple days before the resolution passed, Rep. Dean Phillips, a Jewish Democrat, told Omar in a private meeting with about a dozen Jewish and Muslim House Democrats that she should apologize and that Democrats should affirm Israel’s right to exist and protect itself, according to The Washington Post. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and Palestinian American, reportedly began to cry when she discussed her grandmother’s suffering in the West Bank.
In her Post op-ed, Omar urged both Israelis and Palestinians to “come to the table for a final peace deal.”
“Violence will not bring us any closer to that day,” she wrote.