by Countable | Updated on 2.11.19
Freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is facing bipartisan condemnation for comments she made on Twitter that used anti-Semitic stereotypes to accuse pro-Israel lawmakers of being bought by Jewish money.
Omar accused the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) ― a non-profit that advocates for Israel but doesn’t donate directly to candidates ― of paying politicians to be pro-Israel. She had previously tweeted “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” to explain U.S. political leaders support for Israel.
Those tweets have drawn sharp criticism from both sides of the aisle. House Democratic leaders including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD), among others, released a joint statement condemning Omar’s comments:
“We are and will always be strong supporters of Israel in Congress because we understand our support is based on shared values and strategic interests. Legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share. But Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”
House Republican leaders have called for Omar to be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the chairman of that committee, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), said “it’s shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money.’”
Omar took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to offer the following statement:
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: U.S. Dept. of Defense / Public Domain)
Written by Countable
This is grossly taken out of context. The US pours billions of dollars into Israel which in turn is used to fund their military. This is what she was referencing too.
If criticizing a foreign state’s lobbyist now qualifies as hate speech when no derogatory terms or historically racist phrases are present, then we can no longer claim we have use of the 1st amendment. Stop painting our Muslim female Reps as Anti-Semites NOW
I am extremely disappointed by Rep Omar’s use of language, though I do understand her frustration. I have always and still do agree with our government’s support of Israel, but I have also always been critical of the sometimes blind lockstep way that we have given that support while disregarding the blatantly visible disregard for human rights employed by the Israeli governing majority with regard to Arab residents of Palestine. Our foreign policy with regard to Israel is so mired in hatred and misinformation on both sides that it makes it difficult to see a way out. There are many Israelis and American Jews who feel similarly, but our voices are viewed as a minority opinion to be largely disregarded by the powers in charge at this time. To me the whole situation is similar to the British situation with Ireland, and my only present hope is that something was finally changed in Ireland after almost two centuries of hatred and violence. I hope it does not take two centuries in Israel.😢 I believe that the vocal frustration with Rep. Omar being expressed by the American people will prompt her apology, not for her opinions, but for the way in which she expressed them. Freedom of speech applies to ALL Americans, even if the majority do not agree with those opinions. 🇺🇸
The Party of Equality and Tolerance my foot...
There’s nothing “anti-Semitic” about calling out a lobbying arm of Israel for being a lobbying arm. If anything, this faux outrage is evidence of how many on both sides of the aisle are on the take from this lobbying arm.
I love the Right’s manufactured outrage yet bigoted comments coming from people like Representative Steve King of Iowa and Trump are brushed under the rug as if nothing happened. Love the conservative hypocrisy!!
Partisan Democrats continue to ignore numerous anti-semites & sexual predators in their own party while condemning everyone else even for things that are completely fabricated. Where’s that headline? She’s been making these comments for a long time.
The Anti Semitic tendencies of Leftists remind me of some other socialist group. Now who was that......
So, it’s wrong to call out money in politics if Jewish people are the ones shelling out money? I’ve always been skeptical of our almost apologetic stance towards Israel and our blatant lack of ability to call them out for often egregious acts. A lot of politicians are motivated by money. I don’t think religion or ethnicity should protect you from being called out on it. Of course Israel is paying off some of our politicians and I’m not saying that because they’re Jewish, I’m saying it because our political system is corrupt. Plus, most of this criticism stems from her being Muslim and I’m not going to pretend that I don’t see that. She’s fighting for the people so the cronies will twist anything she says regarding the subject. Sorry but, good guys don’t use drones against people throwing rocks. I don’t see antisemitism, I see someone calling out political corruption on all fronts.
First of all, I’m Jewish and was not even remotely offended by what Rep. Omar wrote. I’m more offended by this faux outrage and distraction from the tasks at hand (getting to the bottom of the Trump-Russia collusion, passing drastic climate change legislation, reforming the criminal justice system, making the ultra wealthy pay taxes, and getting the economy working again for the poor and middle class). Criticism of Israel’s policies and their leadership is not the same thing as antisemitism. It is a fact that AIPAC is a well-funded, center-right organization that has heavy influence over American policy towards Israel. They have consistently ignored Israel’s human rights violations (most likely because we continue to violate human rights ourselves), and are not truly committed to bringing peace to the region. The democrats are fumbling again and falling for the identity politics trap that could very well result in Rep Omar’s history-making seat flip flipping back to GOP control in 2020. Infuriating.
Accurately describing how the Israel lobby functions is not anti-semitism.
There was nothing anti-Semitic about her comments. This is a ridiculous attempt to silence Rep. Omar and anyone else who dares to even acknowledge AIPAC’s oversized influence on our politics. Please show some backbone and maybe a trace of a conscience in support of Rep. Omar.
Criticizing Israeli policies is NOT anti-Semitism. Rep Omar didn’t do anything wrong IMHO
Speaking out against a corrupt government that just happens to be in Israel is not anti-Semitic. People are upset because Ms. Omar is non-white, Muslim, and a woman.
Obviously anti-Semitic tropes are real and should not be perpetuated. However, Omar was calling out the corrupting influence of lobbyists, not promoting a hateful stereotype. She misstepped. More importantly, she apologized and appears to have learned from the incident. To say otherwise is dishonest. We should all move on.
I don’t see the anti Semitic comments that were alluded to in the headline. This organization contributed over $3.5m to lobbying politicians in 2018 according to opensecrets.org. This appears to be a little above their average over the last few years. There is a reason organizations routinely donate millions of dollars each year. They expect a return on investment and that comes in the form of policy, action, and includes public statements from our elected leaders to garner and build public support. Having a different perspective in our Congress is welcome and warrants debate; not immediately casting somebody as having hate towards a group of people for simply having an opinion different from what has become the norm. She has amended her comments and reiterated her skepticism at the lobbying machine that congress thrives on
I am Jewish, and I see absolutely NOTHING anti-semitic in her remarks, or anything portraying a particularly Jewish stereotype in her clearly stated observation that politicians cynically accept money from lobbyist sources. I feel that AIPAC is in the same class as the NRA or Big Pharma, for example, in their approach to winning legislative votes by money rather than by persuasive argument. True anti-ethnic anti-semitism is something entirely separate from criticism of the state of Israel, which is (or should be!) a political entity, not a religious one, and should by all means be open to scrutiny and censure for its shameful treatment of Palestinians.
The democrat party has always been the party of racism and hate.
I don't really see this as anti-Semitic. She's not talking about anyone's religion. 25% of the country is a different religion. She was talking about lobbying.
She criticised a group that lobbies for Israel and Israeli policy. A group that supports the apartheid policies of the Israeli government. A group that supports the occupation of Palestinian land. A group that attempts to effect US policy. That, to me, seems like a group that influences Congress. One can criticise Israel without being anti-Semitic the same way one can criticise the US, or any other country, without being anti-American.