British news host criticised after interviewing Ilhan Omar on Trump antisemitism claims

The Minnesota representative has a history of being accused of antisemitic statements


British-American Journalist Medhi Hasan has been slammed for interviewing a US congresswoman on comments made by Donald Trump about the Jewish community, despite her own history of contentious remarks.

Last night, in a primetime interview, Mr Hasan spoke with Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar about recent remarks made by former President Trump in which he claimed that American Jews need to “get their act together” before “it is too late!”

“No President has done more for Israel than I have,” Mr Trump wrote to his social platform Truth Social.

He later added that it was surprising that “our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S.”

The White House has since condemned his comments as antisemitic.

Ms Omar told MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan Show on 17 October that: “The hypocrisy of the Republicans is blatantly clear, as they are not rushing out to condemn the former President [Donald Trump] who knowingly, repeatedly invokes dual loyalty tropes that are harmful and dangerous. 

“Antisemitism is on the rise and all of us have a responsibility to condemn it,” she went on.

Many viewers found these statements hypocritical given the fact that Omar has faced extensive criticism from American Jewish groups after claiming in a 2012 tweet that “Israel has hypnotised the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel”. 

She also courted controversy in 2019 after suggesting that pro-Israel campaigns were motivated by financial profits, writing via Twitter: “It’s all about the Benjamins baby”, alluding to Puff Daddy’s rap song referring to $100 bills that bear the image of US founding father Benjamin Franklin, and the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC.

Eliot Engel, a Democrat congressman of Jewish heritage, urged his colleague on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to apologise after she claimed Zionist groups “push for allegiance to a foreign country”. 

The New York Representative said it was “unacceptable and deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow American citizens because of their political views, including support for the US-Israel relationship. We all take the same oath. Worse, Representative Omar’s comments levelled that charge by invoking a vile antisemitic slur.”

In 2021 she compared Israel and the US to several extreme Islamist regimes, saying that “unthinkable atrocities” had been “committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”

Melissa Weiss, Editor of the US-based magazine Jewish Insider hit back at Mr Hasan’s interview with Ms Omar via Twitter, complaining that despite there being “Thirty-six Jewish legislators between the House and Senate,” he had “decided to bring on a member of Congress who is not Jewish and has been at the centre of multiple antisemitism controversies.”

Hasan responded to Ms Weiss, tweeting: “It's weird that you have put out 3 tweets in the past 24 hours condemning Ilhan Omar - who actually came on my show to talk about January 6th - for condemning antisemitism but... zero tweets condemning *Trump* for actually being horrifically antisemitic. Weird."

A spokesperson for the Campaign Against Antisemitism told the JC: "Rep Ilhan Oman has repeatedly courted controversy over antisemitic tweets and statements for which she has not fully apologised, nor has she been properly censured by her party, which has failed to distance itself from her in spite of her record.

"She is the last person to be lecturing anyone on antisemitism. Viewers will draw their own conclusions from Mehdi Hassan's decision to discuss antisemitism with such a figure."

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