Adding to her anti-Israel portfolio, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was slammed on Sunday by members of both parties for suggesting that Jewish money was behind American elected officials’ support for Israel, The Times of Israel reported.
Omar, who serves on the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee, was responding on Twitter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who said he would “take action” against her and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib over allegedly anti-Semitic remarks. Both women support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar charged, referring to Benjamin Franklin, whose image appears on $100 bills.
Omar was responding to a Twitter post by prominent conspiracy activist Glenn Greenwald, who said it was “stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans,” referring to McCarthy’s pledge.
McCarthy told reporters on Friday that, “when they stay silent, they are just as guilty … I think this will not be the end of this, and if they do not take action then I think you will see action from myself. It’s unacceptable in this country, especially when you sit back and think about and listen to what this country went through in World War II.”
Omar doubled down deleted comma when challenged by Batya Ungar-Sargon, the opinion editor of The Forward website. “Would love to know who @IlhanMN thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, though I think I can guess,” Ungar-Sargon tweeted. “Bad form, Congresswoman. That’s the second anti-Semitic trope you’ve tweeted.”
The Congresswoman replied: “AIPAC!,” referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Ungar-Sargon fired back: “Please learn how to talk about Jews in a non-anti-Semitic way. Sincerely, American Jews.”
Her tweet won support from Chelsea Clinton, who tweeted: “Co-signed as an American. We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.”
“@IlhanMN ‘s outrageous comments equating politicians’ support for Israel with being bought off by American Jewish money are a vile anti-Semitic trope,” Dan Shapiro, the Obama administration’s ambassador to Israel tweeted. “They need to be condemned by all in our party.”
Shapiro followed up with a series of tweets, including the observation that Omar had, by promoting “her extreme view,” isolated herself politically. He wrote that she will “have much of DC, many in her own party, much of the Jewish community, &plenty of others turning against her.”
AIPAC strenuously rejected Omar’s accusations.
“We are proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the US-Israel relationship,” it said in a statement. “Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests. We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work.”
Rep. Max Rose, a freshman Democrat from New York, said that Omar’s statements “are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself.”
Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, blasted Omar for her tweet and said her statements “CANNOT be tolerated in our own Congress by anyone of either party. In a time of increased anti semitism, we all must be held to account. No excuses.”
Omar tweeted in November 2012 that Israel had “hypnotized the world” to ignore its “evil doings,” using traditional anti-Semitic language about a nefarious Jewish cabal that controls and deceives the world.
Defending the tweet in May 2018, Omar charged that “drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime” was not anti-Semitic, nor equivalent to hating Jews. Omar apologized under pressure in January, saying her comment was “unfortunate and offensive” and admitting it relied on an “anti-Semitic trope.”
Since Omar was elected to Minnesota’s House of Representatives in 2016, she has also used her position to advance anti-Israel policies, including voting against an anti-BDS bill to stop financially punishing Israel.
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