Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSchumer works to balance a divided caucus's demands White House raises refugee cap to 62,500 Sharpton eulogizes Daunte Wright: 'Tags of racism' have expired 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 TlaibSix House Democrats ask Garland to review case of lawyer placed under house arrest over Chevron suit OSHA sends draft emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 to OMB review Imperative that Democrats figure out what went wrong in 2020 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 EllisonDerek Chauvin asks for new trial Minnesota AG says he 'felt a little bad' for Chauvin after guilty verdict Minnesota AG explains why Floyd's death not charged as hate crime 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."