Photo Credit: MEMRI

Ilhan Omar’s reputation for anti-Israel attacks and antisemitism dates back to 2019, when she made her famous accusations that defenders of Israel were guilty of dual loyalty. In her latest controversial comments, just last month Omar compared the US and Israel with the Taliban and Hamas, with accusations of “unthinkable atrocities.”

Those latest comments created an unexpected pushback that led to Omar’s supposed “clarification” of her remarks.


There are, though, some instances when Omar’s criticism of foreign countries are not controversial at all.

In November 2019, Ilhan Omar condemned the Chinese government for the “ethnic cleansing of Uighurs:”

And Omar did not stop there.
Earlier this year, she doubled down on her criticism of China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, with a vehemence she normally reserves for Israel:
And just last year, Omar went beyond mere words and took action that amounts to the equivalent of BDS — against China. In her April 2020 press release, Rep. Omar Leads Letter to CEOs, including Apple, Amazon, and Google, Condemning the Use of Forced Uyghur Labor in China:
According to the text of that letter:

The treatment of Uyghur and other Muslim people by the Chinese government – which the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has determined may amount to crimes against humanity – has drawn fierce and sustained bipartisan condemnation. That American companies would be using forced Uyghur labor, intentionally or unintentionally, is profoundly disturbing.

…Among the acts that comprise crimes against humanity, Uyghurs have been allegedly subjected to enslavement, arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearance, and persecution against a collective group of people. Put simply, it is our strong belief that nobody should be profiting from these conditions. [emphasis added]

As you are well aware, American companies represent this country in your business abroad. It is essential that your values are in line with the basic principles of human rights.

She asks that those companies ensure that Uyghur slave labor is not used in the manufacture of their products.
Good for her!
Too bad she did an about-face
While in November 2019, Omar tweeted:

We must hold officials responsible for this fully accountable

And in February 2021 she tweeted:

Yes, politics and relationships shouldn’t stop us from the pursuit of justice…Now is the time for full accountablility and justice. [emphasis added]

Suddenly, just 2 months ago, in May 2021, Politico reported that Ilhan Omar changed her tune, from a call for “justice’ to a call for “justified criticism:

“We need to distinguish between justified criticisms of the Chinese government’s human rights record and a Cold War mentality that uses China as a scapegoat for our own domestic problems and demonizes Chinese Americans,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), one of a group of lawmakers pressing Biden and congressional leaders to take a more cooperative approach to relations with Beijing. [emphasis added]

What accounts for Omar’s about-face?
In the article, Politico notes the concern that progressives have that in its eagerness for justice, the US attitude towards China’s ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs may endanger the battle against…climate change.

According to Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.):

We won’t be able to solve the challenges of the 21st century like the climate crisis and global health unless we have relationships that harness partnerships across the globe, including China.

Bowman is not alone. In May, Bowman and Omar were among “more 60 activist groups and at least four prominent lawmakers [who] are stepping up their criticisms as the Senate pushes through this week a package of anti-China bills that enjoy backing from members of both parties and the White House.”

And the pressure on the Biden administration by progressive groups continued this month. In another article, Politico reports Biden’s new Cold War with China will result in climate collapse, progressives warn:

Over 40 progressive groups sent a letter to President Joe Biden and lawmakers on Wednesday urging them to prioritize cooperation with China on climate change and curb its confrontational approach over issues like Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong and forced detention of Uyghur Muslims. [emphasis added]

…While we are encouraged by stated commitments from the United States and China to work together and with other countries to enact urgent climate policies, we are deeply troubled by the growing Cold War mentality driving the United States’ approach to China — an antagonistic posture that risks undermining much-needed climate cooperation.
We, the undersigned organizations, call on the Biden administration and all members of Congress to eschew the dominant antagonistic approach to U.S.-China relations and instead prioritize multilateralism, diplomacy, and cooperation with China to address the existential threat that is the climate crisis. [emphasis added]
Where is that going to leave Omar, who has publicly accused the Chinese government of the ethnic cleansing, enslavement, torture, rape, forced sterilization and mass detention of Uyghurs?

In particular, the Biden administration has prioritized boxing products with ties to forced labor out of U.S. markets. On Friday, the U.S. added 14 Chinese entities to its economic blacklist that are believed to be complicit in human rights abuses and forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region. The blacklist means American firms will have to obtain clearance from the U.S. government before doing business with those companies.

Will Ilhan Omar come out publicly in support of Biden’s BDS-style measures against Chinese persecution of Uyghurs?
Omar claimed that one of her concerns was a mentality that “demonizes Chinese Americans.”
Can we expect her to show a new concern not to add to a mentality that demonizes Jewish Americans?
Or is all of this just another round in the game of politics — where both Chinese Uyghurs and American Jews get thrown under the bus?

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Bennett Ruda has been blogging at since 2003. He also contributes to the Elder of Ziyon website. Bennet lives in Elizabeth, New Jersey, with his wife and two children