“Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., will be giving a video speech as an introductory speaker for a U.S. government-backed religious freedom event on Israel’s memorial day for fallen soldiers and terror victims.
Omar, who has a history of making comments targeting Israel, is slated to speak at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) event commemorating Yom Hazikaron. Her name had previously been removed from the event’s listed speakers.
Yom Hazikaron is an Israeli holiday commemorating fallen soldiers and the victims of terrorist attacks in the Jewish nation.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was removed as an introductory speaker for a U.S. government-backed religious freedom event on Israel’s memorial day for fallen soldiers and terror victims. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Omar’s spokesperson Jeremy Slevin told Fox News Digital that Omar will be speaking at the event.
“Rep. Omar will be delivering virtual remarks at the event, just like Sen. Rubio,” Slevin said.
A spokesperson for USCIRF told Fox News Digital the “had a change in date to May 1, 2023.”
“This event is being held virtually and we invite all members of Congress to provide remarks, as they wish, for USCIRF’s annual report rollout,” the spokesperson said.
Omar is a staunch, open critic of Israel and her controversial statements only became more enflamed during the recent conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinian Authority-backed terror group Hamas.
Thousands of rockets flew indiscriminately into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as the Israeli forces retaliated with their own, targeted air strikes. The fighting came after clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians in Jerusalem over potential evictions by the Israeli government.
After weeks of fighting, the two sides declared a ceasefire, but Omar said the fighting stopping was not enough and that the U.S. was “underwriting crimes against humanity” through support for Israel and that there needed to be “accountability for every war crime committed.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar is a staunch, open critic of Israel and her controversial statements only became more enflamed during the recent conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinian Authority-backed terror group Hamas. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Amid the conflict, Omar also accused Israel of engaging in “terrorism” through their airstrikes that tragically killed civilians in the Gaza Strip.
“Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism. Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians. It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid,” Omar wrote on Twitter.
In 2019, during her first term in office, Omar came under fire for a since-deleted tweet from 2012, where she wrote “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
Omar said the “unfortunate words were the only words” she could “think about expressing at that moment” while referring to the Israeli armed forces’ 2012 operation against Hamas in Gaza. She also defended the comments while speaking to comedian Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show.”
Omar, who previously has expressed regret over that tweet, responded by saying she had to “take a deep breath” and “understand where people were coming from and what point they were trying to make.”
“What is important in this conversation is that we separate the land, the people, and administrations. When I talk about what we are going wrong in this country, it’s not because I hate this country, it’s not because don’t see myself as American,” Omar said. “It’s because I love this country and because I am an American and I want it to do better.
“And so when I talk about places like Saudi Arabia or, you know, Israel, or right now Venezuela, I’m not criticizing the people, I’m not criticizing their faith, I’m not criticizing their way of life. What I am criticizing is what’s happening at the moment and I want for there to be accountability so that the government … can do better,” she continued.
Rep. Ilhan Omar was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
The congresswoman also stirred up intense backlash from both sides of the aisle when she tweeted that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was paying American politicians to support Israel.
Omar apologized for the tweet, saying her intention is “never to offend” her constituents or Jewish-Americans with her tweets.
“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar wrote in a statement. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”
“At the same time,” she added, “I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the [National Rifle Association] or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”
Omar was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Omar will be speaking at the conference.