Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar dodged a question about her comments concerning Israel Tuesday morning during a discussion about religious freedom at the Center for American Progress (CAP).
Just last week, Omar said hearing Israel described as a democracy made her “almost chuckle,” then comparing it to Iran’s theocratic dictatorship.
She also compared Israel to the Jim Crow-era South, saying: “The American Jewish establishment claims Israel is a democracy for all its citizens. But the nation state law classifies 1.6 million Palestinian Israelis as second class.”
Arabs comprise more than one-fifth of Israel’s population of nearly 9 million people. They hold 18 seats in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. An Israeli-Arab has sat on the country’s supreme court and a growing number serve in the nation’s army.
CAP Executive Vice President Winnie Stachelberg tried to set the table for Omar, noting the new congresswoman had acknowledged that her some of her comments “had inadvertently echoed stereotypes against Jews.” Omar rambled a bit in response, ultimately saying, “I, I think, am at a breaking point where we’re starting to have a conversation about what it means to be of people that harbor hate and the kind of journey we can all be on in fighting against discrimination collectively while still having the freedom to debate foreign policy and not only think about how we engage our allies but also how we criticize and hold them accountable.”
Omar did not take questions from reporters.