Connect with us
[adrotate group="1"]

Middle East News

US politician Ilhan Omar apologises over Israel tweet

Muslim-American Congresswoman Ilhan Omar “unequivocally” apologised on Monday for a tweet criticising a pro-Israel lobbyist group, after the post prompted a pile-on of criticism from Republicans and many Democrats. “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar, one of the first…

Published

on

US politician Ilhan Omar apologises over Israel tweet

Muslim-American Congresswoman Ilhan Omar “unequivocally” apologised on Monday for a tweet criticising a pro-Israel lobbyist group, after the post prompted a pile-on of criticism from Republicans and many Democrats.

“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, said in a statement posted on Twitter. 

“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,” she continued. 

Listening and learning, but standing strong ???????? pic.twitter.com/7TSroSf8h1
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019

“This is why I unequivocally apologise,” Omar said, adding that she “reaffirm[s]” the “problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the [National Rifle Association] or the fossil fuel industry”. 

Omar’s statement came after a wave of criticism from Republicans and many Democrats, in which they called on her to apologise for using “anti-Semitic tropes”. 

The debacle erupted after Omar retweeted a post by Glenn Greenwald, a blogger at The Intercept, media pundit and frequent guest on Fox News programmes such as Tucker Carlson Tonight. 

In that tweet, Greenwald criticised a leading Republican, Kevin McCarthy, for threatening “punishment” of Omar and fellow Muslim-American politicians Rashida Tlaib “over their criticisms of Israel”.

While quote-tweeting Greenwald’s post, Omar wrote “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” followed by music note emojis. 

‘Anti-Semitic trope’  

In response, Batya Ungar-Sargon, an opinions editor at The Forward, criticised Omar, “Would love to know who @IlhanMN thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, though I think I can guess. Bad form, Congresswoman. That’s the second anti-Semitic trope you’ve tweeted.” 

Omar then quote-tweeted Ungar-Sargon, saying only: “AIPAC!” 

AIPAC! https://t.co/UdzaFUEfrh
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019

AIPAC, or the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is a pro-Israel lobbying group. While it is barred from directly donating to candidates, it encourages its more than 100,000 members to do so and to be politically active.

One way the organisation has made a mark on Congress is through expense-paid trips to Israel, which are paid for by an affiliated nonprofit that does not have to disclose its donors. The popular weeklong excursions for members of Congress, their families and some senior staff can cost upward of $12,000 per person and are intended to “educate political leaders and influencers about the importance of the US – Israel relationship through firsthand experiences”.

Omar’s supporters dismissed accusations calling the new politicians anti-Semitic, while critics said her comments perpetuated an age-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that claims Jews use money to control politics from behind the scenes.

Others pointed out that many of the Republicans lashing out at Omar had promulgated anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in the past. 

While @GOPLeader directs islamophobic attacks at @RashidaTlaib & @IlhanMN in the name of “defending” Jews, never forget that he tweeted out antisemitic conspiracy theories about George Soros after Soros was targeted in an attempted bombing. #NotInOurNamehttps://t.co/nlnfFcy2PE
— Sophie Ellman-Golan (@EgSophie) February 10, 2019

Earlier on Monday, leading House Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, condemned Omar’s comments in a statement and called on her to apologise. 

“Legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share,” the statement read. 

“But Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive,” it added.

“We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologise for these hurtful comments.”

Omar supports a movement known as BDS, for “boycott, divestment and sanctions” aimed at Israel. She has been accused of anti-Semitism in the past. She insists her rejection of the Israeli government refers to its stance towards Palestinians and is not directed at Jewish people.

Omar has expressed regret for tweeting in 2012, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” She said the statement came in the context of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

“It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy in disavowing the anti-Semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive,” she tweeted last month.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

code

Middle East News

Children killed in attack on Cameroonian school

Assailants storm private school in city of Kumba, Southwest Region, killing at least four students.Attackers have opened fire on a private school in Cameroon’s Southwest Region, killing at least four children, according to officials. The unknown assailants stormed the Mother Francisca School in the city of Kumba on Saturday. There was no immediate claim of…

Published

on

By

Children killed in attack on Cameroonian school

Assailants storm private school in city of Kumba, Southwest Region, killing at least four students.Attackers have opened fire on a private school in Cameroon’s Southwest Region, killing at least four children, according to officials.
The unknown assailants stormed the Mother Francisca School in the city of Kumba on Saturday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
“They attacked around noon. They found the children in a class and they opened fire on them,” Kumba sub-prefect Ali Anougou told the Reuters news agency.
At least nine other students were wounded and sent to the hospital. There were fears the death toll could rise.
The Associated Press news agency quoted Anougou as blaming separatists who have been fighting the military in parts of western Cameroon for the attack.

Cameroon’s two Anglophone regions – the Northwest and Southwest Regions – are home to a large minority of English speakers in a country where French speakers are the overwhelming majority – a situation that is the legacy of the decolonisation of western Africa by France and Britain more than 60 years ago.
In late 2016, long-standing complaints of political and economic discrimination against English speakers by the central government spilled over when lawyers, students and teachers began calling for reforms.
The government’s lethal response to the protests provoked rebels to declare in 2017 independence for a region they call “Ambazonia”, triggering a stronger crackdown by the authorities.
Both sides have since been accused of committing atrocities in a conflict that has killed some 3,000 people and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
Anglophone secessionists have imposed curfews and closed schools as part of their protest against President Paul Biya’s government.
Last year, officials blamed separatists for kidnapping dozens of schoolchildren, charges the separatists denied.

Continue Reading

Middle East News

Vietnamese envoy hails KRCS’ global humanitarian efforts

KRCS Chairman Dr Hilal Al-Sayer meets Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Trinh Minh Manh. – KUNAKUWAIT: Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Trinh Minh Manh hailed the humanitarian efforts of Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) around the world. The remarks were made to KUNA yesterday after the ambassador’s meeting with KRCS Chairman Dr Hilal Al-Sayer. He expressed appreciation…

Published

on

By

Vietnamese envoy hails KRCS’ global humanitarian efforts

KRCS Chairman Dr Hilal Al-Sayer meets Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Trinh Minh Manh. – KUNAKUWAIT: Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Trinh Minh Manh hailed the humanitarian efforts of Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) around the world. The remarks were made to KUNA yesterday after the ambassador’s meeting with KRCS Chairman Dr Hilal Al-Sayer. He expressed appreciation for the society’s aid to the Vietnamese Embassy during the coronavirus crisis.

The ambassador added that they discussed providing his country with aid to face the impact of the recent floods and landslides, considered to be the worst in decades. Sayer said he was pleased with the ambassador’s visit and affirmed that KRCS will continue exerting humanitarian efforts to aid those affected by natural disasters and crises everywhere. – KUNA

Continue Reading

Middle East News

Pain, frustration: Expats lose jobs to new rules and COVID

File photos show foreign workers applying to leave Kuwait during the amnesty. – Photos by Yasser Al-ZayyatBy Chidi Emmanuel After working for 24 years in Kuwait, Charley Lyon received the dreaded letter that many expats fear amid the economic downturn, coronavirus pandemic and new residency laws. Lyon is among thousands of expat workers in the…

Published

on

By

Pain, frustration: Expats lose jobs to new rules and COVID

File photos show foreign workers applying to leave Kuwait during the amnesty. – Photos by Yasser Al-ZayyatBy Chidi Emmanuel

After working for 24 years in Kuwait, Charley Lyon received the dreaded letter that many expats fear amid the economic downturn, coronavirus pandemic and new residency laws. Lyon is among thousands of expat workers in the government sector who were being laid off.

As part of its Kuwaitization policy, Kuwait is replacing expats with locals in the government sector. The government has also stopped issuing work permits to expats over 60 years of age without a university degree. These new rules have had a huge impact on the lives of thousands of expats in the country, leaving many with no choice but to pack their bags and leave.

Gulf countries are facing an exodus of foreign workers as the coronavirus pandemic pushes out foreign workers. In the midst of the COVID-19 and financial crunch, the National Assembly approved a draft law to slash expat numbers over the next five years.

As the budget deficit widens and economic conditions worsen, Kuwait is grappling with an economic downturn as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc around the world. The combined shock of collapsing oil prices, the pandemic and joblessness is reshaping labor policies in the region, thus bringing anti-foreigner sentiments to the fore again.

While Kuwait’s expats struggle to secure their jobs, the government is calling for an increase in workforce nationalization in government entities. “Why will foreigners take the jobs meant for us (Kuwaitis)? They can work anywhere – but not in the ministries,” argued Abdullah, a 26-year-old Kuwaiti.

Buttressing Abdullah’s viewpoint, Fatma, an unemployed Kuwaiti woman, complained of the difficulty in competing with foreign workers for jobs in the private sector. “Foreign workers can work longer for less, unlike us Kuwaitis. So most companies prefer to hire non-Kuwaitis. This leaves us with only one sector (the public sector). I think this is why the government introduced Kuwaitization, so as to give unemployed Kuwaitis an opportunity,” she explained.

For Lyon, justice and fairness should override anti-expat sentiments. “It is understandable that ministries would give preference to locals for jobs during these tough times, but it would be fair to consider the efforts of the old staff who have put in their best to build this country,” Lyon, 61, and some of his co-workers who were laid off recently lamented, as they worry about their future.

Expats make up the majority of the population of Kuwait. Residency is tied to employment and Kuwait does not easily offer citizenship routes to non-nationals. “We have been here (in Kuwait) legally for over 20 years. It will be difficult to go back and start afresh in our home countries. More so, Kuwait’s residency is linked to the work permit – when you lose your job, you automatically lose your residency. I worry about my children who are still in school. The three-month notice will not be enough to relocate them,” Mustapha, an Egyptian expat who recently lost his job, said in dismay.

Abdurazak Hamad, an African expat, is in a dilemma. “I feel miserable leaving my family behind. I don’t want to go alone, but I can’t make my wife quit her KD 450 job since she is now the sole breadwinner. Starting afresh in my home country at this age (62) will be very difficult. I wish I can get a permit (residency) to stay here with my family,” said Hamad, who was recently sacked.

Continue Reading
error: Content is protected !!