Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who has supported the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel has come out in opposition to sanctions when used against countries such as Iran.
In a commentary piece published last week in The Washington Post, Omar wrote that sanctions are often “ill considered, incoherent and counterproductive.”
Although she advocated for a pro-BDS resolution in Congress, she wrote that sanctions “rarely achieve their desired goals. In the worst-case scenario, they hurt the people of a country — generally the very people we’re purporting to help — without making a dent in the country’s behavior.”
“Both of these cases point to a larger problem. Too often, U.S. policymakers are quick to place sanctions on regimes we disagree with, without considering the likelihood of success or the humanitarian consequences,” she wrote.
However, she did note that what she calls “locally led boycott or divestment campaigns” have value as “meaningful ways for those impacted to seek a peaceful resolution.”
Omar has said that the BDS movement against Israel falls under that umbrella.
“I think the opportunity to boycott, divest, sanction is the kind of pressure that leads to that peaceful process,” she told CBS last month.
She has often said that BDS should be supported because it is non-violent.
“We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” Omar said in July regarding a pro-BDS resolution in the House, according to U.S. News & World Report. “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”
In assessing Omar’s role in the BDS movement, Minnesota-based WCCO reported, “Omar is now the face of the movement to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel until it ends its occupation of the Palestinian West Bank.”
In that context, commentators have noted that Omar’s Washington Post piece shows the extent of her opposition to Israel.
“Omar’s latest piece of literature reveals the depth to which Omar holds Israel as more deserving of punishing policy moves than say, North Korea, Sudan, or Iran,” wrote Erielle Davidson in The Federalist.
Meanwhile in Forward, a pro-Jewish publication, commentator Daniella Greenbaum Davis offered her own interpretation of Omar’s bottom line.
“Sanctions for Israel but no one else seems to be the standard for the Minnesota congresswoman,” she wrote.
“The Minnesota congresswoman is eager to portray herself as a true progressive, a liberal who seeks to right wrongs around the world, serving the underdog and speaking truth to power. In reality, she is not an equal opportunity liberal. Some minorities are more worthy of protection in her calculus, some ostensible villains more deserving of condemnation than others,” Davis wrote.
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