New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman had some choice words for Rep. Ilhan Omar after the recently elected congresswoman has displayed antisemitic rhetoric during her short tenure in Congress via her comments about Israel and big money in politics. Friedman said Rep. Omar had a "perfect" opportunity to be a bridge builder between Muslims and Jews but instead has opted to be a "bridge destroyer" because she has not offered "constructive" criticism.
"Ilhan Omar represents, I believe, the largest Jewish community in the whole upper Midwest...She also represents a Somali immigrant community that have come to our city and enriched it...She was perfectly poised to be a bridge builder between Muslims and Jews, between Arabs and Israelis and rather than that she has come to be a bridge destroyer,” Friedman told the host.
“She was perfectly poised to be a bridge builder between Muslims and Jews, between Arabs and Israelis. ... She has come to be a bridge destroyer,” New York Times columnist Tom Friedman tells @smerconish about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s controversial Israel comments https://t.co/msphDlebuV pic.twitter.com/sqIzxmCEWI— CNN (@CNN) March 9, 2019
Friedman made it known he was not necessarily bashing Omar for criticism of Israel nor foreign policy, but the way in which she went about it.
"Do you want to make a point? Or do you want to make a difference? Do you want to be constructive or destructive?...There are constructive ways to be critical of AIPAC or this administration right now...But when you come in and start throwing around these tropes about dual allegiance, about Israel and jews hypnotizing people, no one is going to believe you're innocent here because you are not being constructive. And when you come from this district that is such a strong Jewish and Muslim population, where you're set up to be a bridge builder and all you do is be a bridge destroyer then you are on my criticism list," Friedman said.
As noted by Matt yesterday, Democratic leadership has opted instead to believe that Rep. Omar is not antisemitic, but simply an idiot who does not understand what she is saying. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently dismissed Rep. Omar's remarks, saying, "The incident that happened with, I don't think our colleague is anti-Semitic, I think she has a different experience in the use of words, doesn't understand that some of them are fraught with meaning, that she, what, didn't realize."