October 31, 2019 - 11:44 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - When the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted Tuesday, October 29 to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar only voted "present".
The lawmaker is now facing backlash for her decision but this is, by far, not the first time she has come under fire for decisions and remarks she has made about vital and sensitive topics such as anti-Semitism and the September 11 attacks.
After voting “present” on the resolution affirming the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide on Tuesday, Omar said that her “issue was with the timing and context,” and that “*of course* we should acknowledge the Genocide.”
She argued that the U.S. “should demand accountability for human rights abuses consistently, not simply when it suits our political goals.”
It should not be forgotten, however, that Omar has a documented history of colluding with Turkey, including on behalf of Somalia, where she was born and raised.
Omar was also the only Democrat to vote against imposing sanctions against Turkey over air strikes against the Syrian Kurds.
According to a report from Daily Caller, the co-chairman of a Turkish-American advocacy group with close ties to Ankara contributed $1,500 last month to the campaign for Omar.
“Essentially, this is a Turkish talking point that she’s throwing out,” Aram Hamparian, the executive director Armenian National Committee of America, which has advocated heavily for a vote on Armenian genocide, said.
“She is lining up to carry Turkey’s water on this.”
In an earlier story from February, Omar responded to a tweet from journalist Glenn Greenwald, who posted about House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatening to punish Omar and another congresswoman for being critical of Israel.
Omar wrote back, "It's all about the Benjamins baby," a line about $100 bills from a Puff Daddy song. Critics jumped on the tweet and said Omar was calling up a negative and harmful stereotype of Jewish Americans.
In another tweet soon after, Omar named the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, saying it was funding Republican support for Israel.
This tweet received bipartisan backlash, and Omar was widely accused of anti-Semitic speech.
Omar apologized and said she was learning about "the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes" but held onto her criticism of AIPAC's lobbying.
Later in the year, when Americans were marking the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Omar came under fire for comments she made months before about 9/11. Her phrase “some people did something” when speaking about the attacks was directly criticized.
Nicholas Haros Jr., whose mother was killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks, wore a shirt with Omar's comments during the ceremony and raised the issue immediately.
Republican lawmakers including President Donald Trump were among those who criticized Omar after a video clip of her comment surfaced in April, with many arguing that the "some people did something" summary of 9/11 trivialized the attacks.
Omar has been serving as a U.S. Representative since January 2019 -- for less than 11 months.