United States Representative Ilhan Omar has said that the country’s foreign policy has been highly and disproportionately influenced by foreign nations such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, and that money has been a key factor in that influence.
Omar made the comments in an interview earlier this week with the British newspaper the Sunday Times, given ahead of the publication of her book – “This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman” – saying the two foreign nations have used financial means and their lobbies to prevent criticism against their “destructive” policies.
“We know the amount of money and influence and connection that the Saudis have with the administration is really the reason that everything destructive they do is nullified,” Omar stated. “And that really is no different to what’s happening with Israel.”
Throughout US President Donald Trump’s presidency, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been seen to use their financial leverage and their relationship with his administration to significantly impact his foreign policy, resulting in the US overlooking certain actions such as Israel’s continued building of settlements in the occupied West Bank and Saudi Arabia’s role in the killing of columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
She added: “There’s an alarming connection to the really destructive policies Israel is proposing and how much of it is being rubber stamped by this administration. And how much of it is being urged by Americans who have connection and influence with this administration.”
Omar has long been demonised for her criticism of Israel and the Israeli lobby in US politics, which has increased significantly within the administration of Trump. As a result, she has come under much backlash, having received death threats and heard a Republican candidate calling for her to be hanged.
In the interview, she likened her criticism of Israel to her criticism of Saudi Arabia, saying: “I talk about Saudi blood money and them being bloodsuckers and no one says ‘This is Islamophobic.’”