Congress

Omar apologizes for ‘anti-Semitic trope’ after criticism

‘My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,’ Omar said in a statement.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., conduct a news conference in the Capitol to introduce a legislative package that would lower prescription drug prices in the U.S. on Jan. 10, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ilhan Omar issued a public apology for comments she made about the pro-Israel lobby buying lawmakers’ support for the country, which both Democrats and Republicans called an anti-Semitic trope.

“My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,” Omar said in a statement. “We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

Omar acknowledged that “anti-Semitism is real” but suggested that she was unaware that her remarks would be derived as such.

[House Democratic leaders, chairmen criticize Omar for ‘anti-Semitic trope’]

“I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” she said.

Post-It Notes with words of support are posted on the nameplate for Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., outside her office in the Longworth House Office Building on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Post-It Notes with words of support are posted on the nameplate for Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., outside her office in the Longworth House Office Building on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Despite apologizing for any offense she caused, Omar doubled down on the original intent of her tweets.

“I reaffirm the problem role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry,” she said. “It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”

Omar tweeted a screenshot of her statement with an added comment: “Listening and learning, but standing strong.”

Omar’s apology came after Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democratic leaders issued a joint statement calling on her to do so.

Several other Democrats have also condemned Omar’s remarks as anti-Semitic.

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