ilhan omar

Why is Ilhan Omar suddenly the face of hate?

I watched with interest as Democrats targeted freshman Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar—a Muslim who came to America as a Somalian refugee—as the new face of anti-Semitism in America.

To be sure, Omar, a frequent critic of Israeli policy and influence, has been offensive to some. Omar apologized after saying U.S. politicians support the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) because it’s “all about the Benjamins.” Later, at a town hall meeting, she questioned “the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Critics said Omar’s statement was reflective of an anti-Semitic trope, which says Jews have divided loyalties between America and Israel. Democrats, in a frantic rush to distance themselves from Omar’s comments, proposed a resolution that on its surface condemned anti-Semitism, but in reality was a personal rebuke of Omar.

But in a country where the President ran on a platform that targeted brown immigrants, where the vast majority of hate crimes are carried out by white men born in America, where the victims of such crimes are overwhelmingly people of color, how did a black Muslim immigrant suddenly become the face of bigotry?

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Photo: Ilhan Omar speaking at a Hillary for MN event at the U of MN. By Lori Shaull / Flickr Creative Commons

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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of and host of Your Voice weekdays from 10 to Noon on Praise 107.9 FM radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon.

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