U.S. Congresswoman Omar says Jews 'not partners in justice'

Asked about some of her past remarks that were considered anti-Semitic by her colleagues, Somali-born lawmaker tells CNN that Jewish Democrats 'haven’t been equally engaging in seeking justice around the world'
United States Congresswoman llhan Omar on Tuesday said that her Jewish counterparts have not been "partners in justice".
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  • The Democratic, Somali-born representative from Minnesota has come under criticism in the past for her comments about Jewish people and Israel, including tweets last year saying that members of Congress were being paid by a powerful interest group to support Israel.
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    Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks during a press conference outside the DFL Headquarters
    Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks during a press conference outside the DFL Headquarters
    Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks during a press conference outside the DFL Headquarters
    (Photo: AFP)
    In an interview with CNN's "the Lead" program, the host Jake Tapper asked Omar about her previous remarks aimed at Jews, which were perceived as anti-Semitic even by some of her fellow Democrats.
    "I think it’s really important for these members to realize that they haven’t been partners in justice. They haven’t been, you know, equally engaging in seeking justice around the world," she told in her reply.
    "It is important for me, as someone who knows what it feels like to experience injustice in ways that many of my colleagues don’t, to be a voice in finding accountability, asking for mechanisms for justice for those who are maligned, oppressed, and who have had injustice done to them."
    Omar earlier this month fired back at her colleagues who criticized her remarks, comparing the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.
    She accused them of "islamophobic tropes" and "constant harassment" and she posted a threatening voice mail she said the incident had prompted.
    In her original comments, Omar tweeted an exchange with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a video conference in which she said, "We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice."
    Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., and 11 other Jewish House Democrats later issued a two-paragraph statement labeling her remarks offensive and misguided. They said she should "clarify" what she meant.
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    Representative Ilhan Omar
    Representative Ilhan Omar
    Representative Ilhan Omar
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and contemptible organizations that engage in terrorism at best discredits one's intended argument and at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice," they wrote.
    Omar tweeted back that was "shameful" that fellow Democrats who sometimes seek her support on issues didn't ask her for an explanation by simply calling her.
    "The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable," she wrote.
    Associated Press contributed to this report
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