Despite criticism, Austin Mayor Steve Adler is keeping his dinner plans this weekend with a controversial U.S. congresswoman.
Adler is guest of honor at Saturday’s Iftar dinner in Austin, a Ramadan event hosted by Emgage, an advocacy group for American Muslims. The event’s keynote speaker is Democrat U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, one of the first Muslims elected to Congress. Omar has been mired in controversy during her first term in office for her anti-Semitic remarks.
Debate sparked this week when Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller urged Adler, who is Jewish, to pull out of the event because of Omar’s troubling comments.
“Israel has hypnotized the world,” Omar tweeted in 2012, “may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
Omar has since deleted the post, but in February she tweeted again, this time suggesting that Jews pay off American politicians for support.
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” she said.
After that tweet, even U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat officials denounced her comments.
“Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive,” a statement from Pelosi read. “We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”
Omar apologized, but shortly after made another controversial remark at an event of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, downplaying the terrorist attacks of September 11.
“CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” Omar said.
Omar will be featured in Austin this weekend, but Commissioner Miller said the mayor should not tolerate such hate.
“It’s not inclusive to have a keynote speaker at a dinner who has repeatedly attacked the Jewish faith and its adherents,” Miller said in a news release. “Mayor Adler should help Austin stay true to its roots and use this opportunity as a teaching moment for Muslims, Jews, Christians and those of other faiths to come and break bread together in the spirit of unity and love, not hate.”
Adler, however, confirmed he will still attend.