Far from Washington, Rep. Omar's constituents see the Israel controversy in a different light

NBC News | 3/10/2019 | Staff
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MINNEAPOLIS — Rep. Ilhan Omar's comments about Israel have consumed Washington. But here in Minnesota’s diverse 5th Congressional District, a pillar of progressivism that handed Omar a decisive victory in November's midterm elections, there has been far less outrage.

In interviews here, including with residents who are Jewish and Muslim, few of Omar's constituents voiced any anger at the lawmaker, even if they found the remarks troubling. One Jewish leader said she would be open to a good-faith foreign policy debate.

Director - Dar - Al-Farooq - Islamic - Center

To the director of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center, a large mosque 10 miles south of this city, the furor is overblown.

"Anti-Semitism is real in this country," Mohamed Omar, who is not related to the freshman Democrat, said in an interview in a private study, as children nearby hurried to Friday afternoon prayers. But the controversy, he said, is a "distraction."

Nation - Capital - Ilhan - Omar - Backlash

In the nation’s capital, Ilhan Omar drew an intense backlash for a tweet that suggested American support for Israel was "all about the Benjamins baby" and a remark that pro-Israel activists pushed for "allegiance to a foreign country." She was accused by some lawmakers and prominent Jewish groups of anti-Semitism and playing on toxic anti-Jewish stereotypes.

In response, the House of Representatives last week overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning all hate, though the measure did not single her out. Omar, for her part, has apologized for suggesting that the United States' connection to Israel is driven by money from AIPAC, a prominent pro-Israel lobby group.

Rabbi - Marcia - Zimmerman - Temple - Israel

Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman of Temple Israel, a Reform Jewish congregation that is the oldest synagogue in this city, said many of members of her community have called her over the last month to say they were troubled by Omar's comments.

“I don't know the intention, but I know the impact. The words have been hurtful,” Zimmerman said in the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: NBC News
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