Protesters gathered in New York City’s Times Square late Monday to call for the removal of freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Following the highly-publicized allegations of the Minnesotan congresswoman’s antisemitism and her statement downplaying the 9/11 terrorist attacks, New York native and activist Joe Diamond organized a rally and billboard launch calling for her removal. She is one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to the US legislature.
“In my lifetime, I cannot think of any other politician who presents a bigger threat to the alliance between the US and Israel and to America’s Jews,” Diamond told The Jerusalem Post ahead of Monday’s protest. “This woman is an ardent antisemite, and she doesn’t even try to hide it.”
Omar’s critics had planned to launch a billboard with redacted quotes from the politician, alongside graphic 9/11 imagery. The group, named “Ilan Must Go,” was prepared to spend thousands of dollars on the billboard, with donations from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Zionist Organization of America and others. Instead, the detractors put the video display on a truck, as they were unable to receive a stationary billboard permit from local authorities, which cited the ad as “disparaging.”
A screen on the truck flickered with controversial statements Omar has made since being elected in 2018, including her much-publicized and allegedly antisemitic tweet “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”
Diamond, who originally estimated that the event would bring in 10,000 protesters, said he was pleased with the turnout in the hundreds. Speakers at the event included former Democratic New York State assemblyman Dov Hikind and award-winning advocate of Christian Zionism Laurie Cardoza-Moore.
“We have to utilize every mechanism of media to wake up Americans about the vile hatred of this woman. Christians should also be alarmed. Ilhan Omar is a huge threat to our national security,” Cardoza-Moore said. The activist told the Post that she expects to be called Islamophobic following her statements. “I’m just against terrorism,” she claimed.
Omar’s defenders were among those in the crowd, including a handful of hassidic men who oppose the existence of Israel and a group of Jewish millennials who said that attempts to remove her were an expression of racism and Islamophobia, linked to white supremacy.
“At a Times Square protest against Ilhan Omar, several hundred people with Trump banners and Israeli and American flags are saying the most hateful lies. One man has the flag of The Jewish Defense League, a terrorist group responsible for multiple murders,” author and artist Molly Crabapple tweeted.
One counter-protester’s sign read, “Rep. Omar: Thank you for building a more just world. Our liberation is bound to yours. –Young Jews.”
Omar’s office did not respond to the Post’s request for comment on Monday’s event. “Ilhan and her clique are well aware of what we are doing,” Diamond said. “And we’re not done. Everyone left really energized – ready to do whatever must be done next.”