Skip to main content

Muslim congresswoman, Israel critic Ilhan Omar, removed from House committee

The Minnesota congresswoman has received criticism from Republicans and pro-Israel groups over the years for her statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but many Democrats and pro-Palestine organizations support her.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) leaves her office at the Longworth House Office Building on February 02, 2023 in Washington, DC. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has announced he plans to hold a vote on a resolution to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday. 

House Resolution 76 narrowly passed with 218 yay votes to 211 nays. The resolution was introduced on Tuesday by Congressman Max Miller, R-Ohio. The vote was split down party lines, with Republicans voting for the resolution and Democrats voting against it.

Why it matters: Omar was elected to Congress in 2018. Her tenure on the influential committee began in 2019 and was marked by controversy throughout due to her statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2019, she tweeted “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby” in reference to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). 

Jewish groups accused Omar of invoking anti-semitic tropes on Jewish money and domination in the tweet. Omar subsequently apologized. On Tuesday, she said she had not been aware of the stereotype at the time. 

Miller mentioned the tweet in the resolution. 

In 2021, Omar seemingly compared Israel and the United States to Hamas and the Taliban when speaking to Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. 

“We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban,” she said. 

Some of Omar’s colleagues criticized the remarks, accusing her of equating the United States and Israel to terrorists. 

Not everyone is against Omar. Some of Omar’s colleagues have said she receives disproportionate criticism for her remarks. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted in 2021 that Omar is subject to “constant vilification.” 

Omar also has support from pro-Palestine organizations such as those affiliated with the anti-Israel boycott “BDS” movement.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed support for Omar staying on the committee in the days leading up to her removal. 

“She’s been very active and brings a lot of thought to the committee,” Meeks told CBS on Wednesday. 

In a statement following her removal on Thursday, Meeks called Omar an “invaluable asset” to the committee and accused Republicans of exacting “revenge on their political opponents.” 

Many Republicans rejoiced as Omar was voted off the committee. 



Omar faced a pro-Israel primary challenger in 2022, but she won re-election that year and again in 2022.

Know more: Omar was born in Somalia and immigrated to the United States when she was a pre-teen. She and Rep. Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women to serve in Congress in 2019. 

Omar, Tlaib, Cortez and a few others are members of the self-dubbed “squad” group of congresspeople. The squad is known for its progressive politics as well as its support for the Palestinians. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in