Ilhan Omar: ‘No way in hell I am attending’ event commemorating Israel’s statehood

The Minneapolis Democrat deployed a 13-tweet, politically-charged tirade explaining why she will boycott Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s visit to D.C.

The Minneapolis Democrat deployed a 13-tweet, politically-charged tirade explaining why she will boycott Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s visit to D.C. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar took to social media on Wednesday and announced “there is no way in hell” she will attend a joint address to Congress next week that Israel’s president will make to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its statehood.

The Minneapolis Democrat deployed a 13-tweet thread in the middle of the evening of July 12 that first stated she would skip the event because Israel once barred her and fellow U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, from entering the country due to their expressed support for an anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

“There is no way in hell I am attending the joint session address from a President whose country has banned me and denied @RashidaTlaib ability to see her grandma,” Omar tweeted at the top of a thread that then went on to cite a litany of other reasons for her decision to boycott the event that will take place before a joint session of the U.S. House and Senate on Wednesday, July 19.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog, a well-established, left-of-center politician, will address Congress at the invitation of House and Senate leaders from both parties. Herzog has been Israel’s president since 2021 and is considered politically to the left of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Follow-up tweets in Omar’s politically-charged thread allege that Israel’s current government makeup is its “most right wing” in its history and that Israel’s most recent incursions into the West Bank have resulted in the “deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in history.”

Omar goes on to mention that she also boycotted the joint address of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Congress last month “based on his government’s human rights record.”

While Omar intentionally skipped that invitation, it’s worth noting that other Minnesota dignitaries attended the White House State Dinner for Modi’s visit, including Gov. Tim Walz, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Twins owner and resident Pohlad family heir Robert Pohlad.

Republican and Democrat leaders, White House to welcome Herzog

Despite the mostly bipartisan welcome of Herzog’s visit, three other well-known, far left Democratic House members — Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Cori Bush of Missouri — have announced they will also boycott the event.

The House of Representatives announced Herzog’s upcoming visit late last month, where Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said the purpose of the visit was to return the favor for his May visit to Israel to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Israel statehood.

“The world is better off when America and Israel work together,” McCarthy said in a press statement announcing Herzog’s July 19 joint address to Congress. “Eleven minutes after declaring independence in 1948, the United States was the first to recognize the state of Israel, and today, we continue to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two democracies.”

White House officials said this week that President Joe Biden will meet with Herzog during his visit.

“The two leaders will discuss opportunities to deepen Israel’s regional integration and to create a more peaceful and prosperous Middle East,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday. “President Biden will stress the importance of our shared democratic values, and discuss ways to advance equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and security for Palestinians and Israelis.”

Several instances of anti-Semitic comments dating back more than a decade

Since she was first elected to the U.S. House in November 2018, Omar has been criticized by many of her colleagues in Congress and those from her own constituency in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District for anti-Semitic comments she has made on social media.

In March 2019, just two months into her first term in Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution condemning Omar for comments she posted on Twitter dating back to 2012 that it deemed “hateful expressions of intolerance” that perpetuate “anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

Just two years later, several of Omar’s Democratic colleagues in the House who are Jewish issued a statement criticizing comments she made that compared the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban. The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Minnesota and Dakotas issued a similar statement condemning Omar’s comments.


Hank Long

Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.