Rep. Ilhan Omar’s apology this week didn’t come as a complete surprise to some people in her home state of Minnesota. One Democratic State Senator, Ron Latz, hosted a meeting with Omar last year to discuss some of her past anti-Semitic comments. The hope was that by speaking with her she’d come to understand why some of those comments were offensive to Jews and refrain from making similar comments in the future. But Latz said it hasn’t worked out that way:
As Ilhan Omar’s political star was rising last year on her way to becoming one of the first Muslim women in Congress, several Minnesota Jewish leaders invited her to talk privately about past statements they considered anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Gathering at a state senator’s home, they hoped to get a better sense of her views while expressing their concerns.
Most came away dissatisfied by what they heard…
“There seems to be a pattern developing which indicates more of an attitude than mistakes,” said Ron Latz, the Democratic state senator who hosted the meeting. “And that’s what’s most troubling. I mean, I’m grateful that she seems to be willing to be engaged in conversations with the Jewish community, but she doesn’t seem to be learning from those conversations.”…
For Latz, from St. Louis Park, Omar’s troubling statements go back to a tweet from 2012 when she said “Israel has hypnotized the world.” Omar apologized for the tweet just last month.
But the AP also spoke to people who think criticism of Rep. Omar is overblown including, not surprisingly, the chairman of the Minnesota chapter of CAIR. Abdul Basit said, “She was specifically talking about the impact that lobbyists have in this country when determining their own interest…” Well, not quite. She was talking specifically about support for Israel being based on funding from AIPAC. It wasn’t a generalized statement about lobbying.
A Rabbi named Marcia Zimmerman tells the AP she’s heard from people in the community who are concerned with Omar’s recent comments. She has spoken to Omar and has arranged another face-to-face meeting with her to discuss the ongoing problem. Will it make an impact this time? I guess we’ll see. Here’s the video report including the comments by State Senator Latz: