Speaking with Yahoo! News, Omar was asked how the U.S. could facilitate peace talks between Israel and Iran.
Omar replied, “Most of the things that have been aggravating to me is that we have had a policy that makes one superior to the other. And we mask it with a conversation about justice and a two-state solution. When you have policies that clearly prioritize one over the other.”
When asked to explain in detail what she meant, Omar went on to criticize Israel.
“I mean just our relationship with the Israeli government and the Israeli state. And so when I see Israel institute laws that recognize it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it,” she said.
She continued, “And we still uphold it as a democracy in the Middle East I almost chuckle because I know that if we see that any other society we would criticize it, call it out. We do that to Iran, we do that to any other place that sort of upholds its religion. And I see that now happening with Saudi Arabia and so I am aggravated, truly, in those contradictions.”This isn’t Omar’s first controversy regarding statements she made about Israel. She recently had to apologize for a 2012 tweet in which she said, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine#Israel.”
In 2015 as a state representative, Omar sent a letter to a judge urging him for be lenient in punishing 9 men who attempted to join ISIS.
“The best deterrent to fanaticism is a system of compassion,” she wrote. “We must alter our attitude and approach; if we truly want to effect change, we should refocus our efforts on inclusion and rehabilitation.”
“Incarcerating 20-year-old men for 30 or 40 years is essentially a life sentence. Society will have no expectations of the to-be 50- or 60-year-old released prisoners; it will view them with distrust and revulsion,” the letter continued.
She added, “Such punitive measures not only lack efficacy, they inevitably create an environment in which extremism can flourish, aligning with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment.