Ilhan Omar’s removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a 218-211 vote struck a major blow to an antisemitic voice in Congress. Unfortunately, it has been falsely portrayed as a response to the Democrats’ previous removal of far-right congresspeople from their committees.
In fact, the vote against Omar was House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s effort to follow through on what he said at the National Council of Young Israel dinner in New York on March 31, 2019. There, McCarthy publicly discussed his removal of Republican Steve King from all committees due to King’s white supremacism. McCarthy then said action should be taken against Ilhan Omar as well, due to her antisemitism.
The sad failure of over 20 Jewish Democrats to overcome pressure from their party and vote in favor of removing Omar shows that even the strongest Israel supporters among them cannot stand up for their own principles.
For example, on May 26, 2021, Jewish Democratic Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Kathy Manning (D-N.C.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) wrote a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden stating that they “reject comments from members of Congress accusing Israel of being an ‘apartheid state’ and committing act[s] of terrorism.” They added, “These statements are antisemitic at their core and contribute to a climate that is hostile towards many Jews.” The letter was obviously prompted by statements made by Omar and her fellow Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).
For example, in a May 16, 2021 tweet, Omar tweeted, “Israeli TV Host Implores Israelis: Wake Up and Smell the Apartheid—YouTube Watch this and help end the Israeli Apartheid and #FreePalestine.” On Feb. 27, 2019, Omar publicly claimed that supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship “push allegiance to a foreign country.” Omar even lamented that Hamas did not have the Iron Dome and supported the terror group while it launched 4,000 rockets against Israel in May 2021. She called Israel’s attempts to stop the rocket fire “an act of terrorism.”
Some have claimed that Omar apologized for her comments. In fact, she apologized only for previous statements in which she claimed that Israel had “hypnotized the world” and that support for Israel in Congress is “all about the Benjamins”—that is, hundred-dollar bills.
Moreover, her apologies were clearly made in bad faith, because she claimed she did not know these comments were antisemitic. This means that, even if we take her at her word, she believed the comments to be true but did not realize they were offensive to Jews. It is worth asking: Does she still believe the accusations and simply think she should have worded them differently?
Omar has also clearly stated that she has not changed her views on Israel since the vote removing her from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
This is not the only example of Omar’s hypocrisy. She attempts to present herself as a devoutly religious woman, especially by publicly wearing a hijab. But in Aug. 2019, a woman named Beth Mynett filed for divorce from her husband Tim Mynett, who she accused of having an affair with Omar.
Omar denied the affair, but in Oct. 2019 she filed for divorce from Ahmed Hirsi, citing an “irretrievable breakdown” in the marriage. After the divorce was finalized, Omar married Tim Mynett in March 2020.
There are also serious indications of financial corruption on Omar’s part. Mynett is the founder of the consulting firm the E Street Group and, according to campaign filings obtained by Fox News, Omar’s campaign paid the firm $3.7 million during the 2020 election cycle. This constituted 80% of her political spending, making her campaign the E Street Group’s largest client by far.
A Feb. 3, 2023, Yahoo News article by Gabrielle Olya states that “in a recent 2021 financial disclosure examined by Fox News, it is indicated that Omar’s disclosure ‘does not appear to list any of the congresswoman’s personal bank accounts,’ although this is required by federal law.”
“Four of the five line items listed under ‘Assets’ and ‘Unearned Income’ belong to her spouse, Tim Mynett, partner at political consulting firm E Street Group,” the article reveals. Olya also reported that, according to a financial disclosure filed by Omar in May 2019, Omar had more debts than assets at that time.
It should be shocking, given the above information, that the Democratic leadership has now appointed Omar to the House Budget Committee.
By removing Omar, McCarthy has shown that he will stand up to hate and corruption whether it is in his party or among his opponents. He and the Republican House delegation have taken a strong stand against the legitimization of antisemitism in Congress and for that, they should be commended.