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Omar apologizes to Jewish groups over tweet condemned as anti-Semitic: reports

The Hill logo The Hill 2/21/2019 Rachel Frazin
a person wearing a costume: Omar apologizes to Jewish groups over tweet condemned as anti-Semitic: reports © Getty Images Omar apologizes to Jewish groups over tweet condemned as anti-Semitic: reports

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) apologized to Jewish groups this week over tweets condemned as anti-Semitic.

Omar reportedly apologized in a confidential conference call with Jewish organizations on Tuesday night, according to multiple reports.

"Let me reiterate my sincere apology for any actual hurt my words have caused," Omar reportedly said. "I know there are a lot of people who in the last weeks have expressed support in trying to say this isn't anti-Semitic or this shouldn't be looked at in that way."

She added that it was up to the Jewish community to define anti-Semitism, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

"I do not want to give space or energy to anyone who wants to minimize the hurt," she said.

The call included representatives from groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, the refugee aid organization HIAS, Americans for Peace Now and progressive group Bend the Arc, according to reports.

The Hill has reached out to Omar's office for comment.

The freshman representative drew criticism earlier this month for tweets suggesting that American lawmakers were motivated by money to defend Israel.

Omar said her tweet referred to powerful lobbying groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), but some critics said the remarks invoked harmful stereotypes about Jewish people.

"My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole," she said in a statement following the backlash. "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."

She added that she still opposes the influence held by lobbyists.

"At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry. It's gone on too long and we must be willing to address it," she said in the statement.

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