An outspoken critic of Israel, Omar has courted controversy with provocative remarks that some say invoke anti-Semitic stereotypes. The pattern has alarmed many Jews, and as Omar faced yet another firestorm last week, community leaders on both sides voiced pain and confusion, fearing that the comments could damage an alliance they have spent years trying to nurture.Somali community activist Omar Jamal of St. Paul said he is in touch with local Jewish leaders about how the two sides can reaffirm their solidarity at a moment of crisis. He said that he supported Omar’s congressional campaign but that her comments are “wrong, period.”“She can solve this problem if she wants to,” Jamal said. “This is up to Ilhan Omar. She has really spoken in a very dangerous way, and it’s going to be up to her to reach out to people and fix this.”The controversy has roiled the Twin Cities, where Omar, a Democrat, represents Minneapolis and its large Somali American community, as well as several neighborhoods that have been home to Jews for generations. The liberal and racially diverse 5th Congressional District was previously represented by state Attorney General Keith Ellison, who in 2006 made history as the first Muslim elected to Congress.
March 11, 2019 at 12:44 PM EDT