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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

John Legend says it's time to 'speak up' for the rights of Palestinians

The Grammy-winning singer made the comments when asked about Ilhan Omar on a recent talk show

John Legend said that it was time to "speak up" for human rights for Palestinians. AFP
John Legend said that it was time to "speak up" for human rights for Palestinians. AFP

Award-winning singer and songwriter John Legend has stood in solidarity with Palestine, voicing his support for its peoples' human rights in a recently aired talk show.

The All of Me crooner appeared as a guest on the latest edition of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, a panel show focused on politics and current events. During the taping, which aired on Saturday in the States, the subject of US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was raised.

The politician has been a hot topic of conversation in the US in recent days, after issuing an apology last week for remarks suggesting money was the reason behind support for Israel, with her words widely criticised as "anti-Semitic".

When host Maher posed the question of whether Omar's comments were to be considered as such, Legend, 40, took a stand for the people of Palestine.

He said the topic has been "out of bounds" for too long:

"As progressives, we should also speak up for human rights for Palestinians, and for too long, I think, it has been out of bounds for progressives to speak up for the rights of Palestinians," said the father of two.

The Grammy, Tony, Emmy and Oscar winner added: β€œIt is a progressive point of view to speak up for the rights of Palestinians.”

US President Donald Trump has called for Ilhan Omar's resignation over her comments. EPA
US President Donald Trump has called for Ilhan Omar's resignation over her comments. EPA

Omar and Rashida Tlaib this year became the first Muslim American women in Congress, but Omar has since backtracked from her comments, offering an "unequivocal apology" on her Twitter account.

"Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on this painful history of anti-Semitic tropes," the politician said.

Not Legend's first stand for Palestine

This is not the first time Legend has spoken out in support of Palestine - back in 2014, the Ordinary People star called upon students to humanise those caught up in conflict, during a speech he delivered to graduates at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014.

"[Love] means we see a young Palestinian kid not as a future security threat or demographic challenge, but as a future father, mother and lover," said Legend. "If you're committed to loving in public, it requires you opening your eyes to injustice, to see the world through the eyes of another."

Updated: February 19, 2019 09:35 AM

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