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.
At the same time, some American organizations rushed to Omar’s defense, including the National Women’s March, a group beset with allegations of anti-Semitism stemming, in part, from the leadership’s links to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, described by the Anti-Defamation League as “America’s leading anti-Semite.”
The Washington Times reported on Tuesday that Women’s March leaders Tamika D. Mallory and Linda Sarsour blamed criticism of Omar’s remarks – widely condemned by Democrats and Republicans as anti-Semitic in nature – as fueled by racism.
Mallory said in a tweet there was “racism” involved in the deluge of criticism sparked by Omar’s charge that support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby” – in other words, money.
In her remarks, the congresswoman specifically singled out the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC is not a political action committee and does not spend money on political campaigns.
“Women of color are held to unreachable standards and scrutinized in a way no one else is,” said Mallory. “People have said and done way worst. We are also not given benefit of the doubt. Just based on who we are, people assume ill will. This is NOT okay. There’s racism at play,” she added.
Her co-chair, American-Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour, made similar comments on Monday. In a Facebook post, Sarsour stated: “I will not be silent in the face of attacks, harassment and targeted policing of speech from a Black Muslim woman elected official, our sister Ilhan Omar in the name of combatting antisemitism.”
“Women of color leaders are policed relentlessly that it’s borderline obsessive (especially those who dare invoke Palestinian rights),” Sarsour added. “It’s like people wished you didn’t breathe. Your existence is problematic.”
Sarsour also charged that liberals are trying to “appease angry white men,” an effort she described as “upholding white supremacy.” She called on supporters to sign a petition posted by MPower Change, which she leads, to tell the Democratic leadership that they were “disappointed you caved to the bad-faith attacks against Rep. Omar.”
The Women’s March leadership has been at the center of controversy over alleged anti-Semitic remarks and ties to hate preacher Louis Farrakhan. Several local branches and organizations that initially supported the march broke with the organization, including the Democratic National Committee.
Other groups that withdrew their support for the national leadership included the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Council of Jewish Women, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Organization for Women, the Human Rights Campaign, and Greenpeace.
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