Omar defends progressives calling Israel an apartheid state: 'That is a factual statement'

Omar was among the 8 progressive Democrats who voted against the $1 billion in funding for Israel's Iron Dome

Updated: September 24, 2021 - 10:29pm

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Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar said Friday she voted against the $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome because it's "not needed at this moment" and added that it's "factual" for progressives to call Israel an apartheid state.

Omar, of Minnesota, was asked why she joined seven other progressive Democrats in voting against the funding. The bill passed 420-9. There were two progressive Democrats who voted present.

"It's an additional funding that is not needed at this moment," she said on Capitol Hill. 

Members of the House Progressive Caucus who opposed the bill, including Reps. Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), have called Israel an apartheid state.

"I will not support an effort to enable and support war crimes, human rights abuses and violence,"  Tlaib said Thursday, the day of the final vote. "The Israeli government is an apartheid regime."

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) slammed Talib for her remarks.

"I cannot allow one of my colleagues to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and label the Jewish democratic state of Israel an apartheid state," Deutch said in a speech on the House floor.

Omar was asked for her reaction to Deutch's criticism.

"Human rights orgs have labeled Israel an apartheid state, that is a factual statement that is on the record in the research that Israel's own human rights organization has done," she said.

House Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who voted for the bill, was asked for her reaction to 8 progressive lawmakers voting against the Iron Dome funding bill.

“These are complex issues and anything around Israel needs to be carefully thought through in order to make sure that everyone has time to talk about it, to understand it and to be there and that’s not what happened here," Jayapal told Just the News Friday on Capitol Hill. "It was really pulled out very unexpectedly. It’s already in the defense appropriations bill but somehow it got pulled out here without anybody knowing about it and put in and I think that’s unfortunate. It’s an unforced error from our [House] leadership.” 

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