Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarThe four House Democrats who voted against the border funding bill Ocasio-Cortez: It was easier to get elected to Congress than pay off student loan debt Progressive group endorses three House freshmen MORE (D-Minn.), the first Somali-American elected to Congress, on Thursday defended several tweets she sent in previous years, including one where she said she hopes people will see the "evil doings of Israel."

"I don't know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans," Omar responded when asked on CNN about a Twitter post from 2012 that was sent during the eight-day conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip.


"My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza war, and I am clearly speaking about the way the Israeli regime was conducting itself in that war," she added.

Omar and Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibProgressive group endorses three House freshmen Lawmakers urge young women to run for office at DC conference Sanders proposes canceling .6 trillion in US student debt MORE (D-Mich.) are the first two Muslim women elected to serve in Congress.

The two lawmakers are vocal critics of the Israeli government and have expressed support for the "boycott, divest and sanctions" movement, commonly referred to as BDS, which encourages companies and governments to avoid doing business with the Israeli government until treatment of Palestinians in the region improves.

Omar called her election to the House last year to replace outgoing Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonMinnesota AG will defend state's abortion restrictions despite personal views Hillicon Valley: House panel advances election security bill | GOP senator targets YouTube with bill on child exploitation | Hicks told Congress Trump camp felt 'relief' after release of Clinton docs | Commerce blacklists five Chinese tech groups Four more states join attorneys general lawsuit to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger MORE (D-Minn.) a rejection of "religious bigotry" in the U.S.

“In a time where there is a lot of religious bigotry, it’s almost perfect to have this counterbalance. My sister Rashida and I are from the heartland of America,” Omar said at the time. “To be elected to Congress is a real rejection of that message."