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Hated By Trump, Embraced By Omar: What Is The BDS Movement?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- President Donald Trump kept up his attacks on four Congresswomen of color this week, including Minnesota's Ilhan Omar.

They support a boycott against Israel known as BDS -- a controversial movement Rep. Omar supported years ago as an unknown state lawmaker.

Omar is now the face of the movement to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel until it ends its occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. Early clues to her BDS rhetoric are in the archives of the Minnesota Legislature.

READ MORE: Rep. Ilhan Omar: Trump, Netanyahu 'Hiding The Cruel Reality Of The Occupation'

"I think I know a little bit about discrimination. I face it every single day," said Omar in 2017, in one of her first floor speeches as a newly-elected Minnesota state legislator.

She compared Israel today to racist South Africa in the 1990s.

"So many people understood that it was obviously immoral for countries to support South Africa," she said.

Omar, who was a Somali refugee before coming to America and becoming a citizen, told fellow lawmakers Minnesotans don't understand the cruelty Israel is inflicting on Palestinians living in occupied territories.

"We here in Minnesota, certainly in this body, who are not educated enough to understand the nuances of the people who are living in Israel and Palestine," Omar said.

READ MORE: Ilhan Omar, MN Jewish Relations Group Decry Israel Gov't Decision To Bar Her Entry

Minnesota that year overwhelmingly passed a law against BDS, forbidding the state to use any contractors who participate in the boycott against Israel. Today 27 U.S. states have similar laws.

President Trump condemns the BDS movement, and Congresswoman Omar as anti-Semitic. Then he takes it further, saying Jewish Americans who support Democrats are ignorant or "disloyal."

"I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," Trump said.

Here's the reality: Voting research shows that Jewish Americans have supported Democrats for decades -- overwhelmingly.

Here's American Jewish voter data from the Pew Research Center for the last two elections:


  • Democrat: 79%
  • Republican: 17%


  • Clinton: 71%
  • Trump: 24%

Here Are Some Of The Sources That We used For This Reality Check:

2017 Anti-BDS Bill Minnesota House

Anti-BDS Legislation Around The Country

ACLU: Businesses Have The Right To Boycott

New York Times: Is BDS Anti-Semitic?

Anti-BDS Bill Passes Minnesota House

Pew Research Center: How Religious Groups Voted In 2016 & 2018

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