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Muslim candidate for Congress calls Israel ‘apartheid regime’

(JTA) – A Somali-American candidate for Congress in Minnesota has rejected accusations that a 2012 tweet accusing Israel of “evil doings” amounts to antisemitism. Ilhan Omar, now a state representative, responded to recent criticism of the tweet by calling the Jewish state “the apartheid Israeli regime. Omar, who is among several Muslim women in the U.S. running for Congress, wrote in a tweet in November 2012 that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza  #Palestine #Israel.” The tweet came two days after the Israeli army began an operation in Gaza triggered by the launching of 100 rockets at Israel from the strip over a 24-hour period. In an interview with ABC News for a segment titled “Progressive Democrats increasingly criticize Israel, and could reap political rewards,” Omar addressed the accusations of antisemitism. “These accusations are without merit,” she said. “They are rooted in bigotry toward a belief about what Muslims are stereotyped to believe.” Omar has neither apologized for nor retracted the tweet. She is running to succeed Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim elected to the Congress. Ellison is running for attorney general in Minnesota.

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