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Influential Congresswoman Ilhan Omar endorses Bernie Sanders for US president

US Senator Bernie Sanders has received the backing of US Representative Ilhan Omar [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 October, 2019

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Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, alongside fellow Squad members Rashida Tliab and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for president.

US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar has endorsed left-wing Senator Bernie Sanders for president, the Washington Post revealed Tuesday.

The Somali-born representative is, alongside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Presley, one of "the Squad", a firebrand group of first-term, progressive Democratic congresswomen.

Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib have all endorsed Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez plans to appear with the presidential hopeful at a rally on Saturday.

The news was confirmed by Sander's campaign and the offices of the three Member's.

Sanders hinted Ocasio-Cortez's appearance at Tuesday night's presidential debate, saying he would have a "special guest" joining him in New York.

The support comes at a critical time for Sanders campaign, after the senator had to suspend all of his presidential nomination campaign events earlier this month after being treated for a blocked artery.

The 78-year-old Senator gathered a substantial following during the race for the 2016 presidential race, by proposing radical left-wing policies and gathering grassroot donations.

The endorsements for Sanders could also be a blow to Senator Elizabeth Warren's campaign, who is running on a similar platform to Sanders.

The Squad has been frequently targeted by Trump in attacks widely regarded as racist. The US President told the four congresswomen to "go back" to their home countries.

Ilhan Omar in particular has faced extreme pressure after criticising Israel's influence in US politics and said she has even faced death threats after President Donald Trump tweeted out a video of her spliced with footage of the 9/11 attacks.

Omar made headlines earlier this year after she tweeted about the influence of pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, that some felt echoed an anti-Semitic trope that Jewish influence in politics is money-related.

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One of the first Muslim women to enter congress, she also sparked uproar at a Washington event in March when she again criticised the "powerful" pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, and US lawmakers who fiercely support the country.

Omar's critical stance on Israel is partly shared by Senator Bernie Sanders. His foreign policy has been hailed by activists for his support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other pro-Palestinian policies. 

On his official website he states: "Israel has a right to exist in security, and at the same time the Palestinians have a state of their own."

Agencies contributed to this report.

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