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Minnesota Democrats look for challenger to Ilhan Omar

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) listens during a news conference on prescription drugs 10 January 2019 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. [Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]
US congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar a news conference in Washington, US on 10 January 2019 [Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]

Minnesota Democrats are looking to remove Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from office after she called out the pro-Israel lobby on its influence in US politics.

According to the Hill, local party officials who were offended by Omar’s comments are looking for someone to take on Omar in the next Democratic primaries, but have yet to find a candidate to fill her shoes.

Minnesota Senator Ron Latz said: “There’s definitely some buzz going around about it, but it’s more a buzz of is anyone talking about finding someone to run against her than it is anyone saying they’re going to run against her or contemplate it. There’s definitely talk about people wanting someone to run against her.”

READ: In open letter, Jewish Americans come out in support of Ilhan Omar

Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, said in a statement: “Our community is exasperated by Rep Omar’s unfulfilled promises to listen and learn from Jewish constituents while seemingly simultaneously finding another opportunity to make an anti-Semitic remark and insult our community.”

However, Minneapolis Councilwoman Andrea Jenkins voiced her support for Omar.

“Support is really strong for Congresswoman Omar,” Jenkins said, “ but certainly there is some acrimony. I think people feel like she’s being unfairly targeted.” She went on to back Omar’s re-election.

In February, Omar came under fire for tweets in which she criticised the influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) over elected United States officials – from both Democrats and Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Omar to apologise.

In her apology, Omar said that “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”.

“My intention [was] 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,” she said.

READ: US Congresswomen openly endorse BDS

AIPAC has been known to openly brag about the power and influence it has in Washington, and spends $4 million a year lobbying representatives in Congress.

Democratic presidential candidates Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris came out in support of Omar, and American Jews signed an open letter of support of her comments on AIPAC, saying the lobby did not represent them.

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