Omar wades into anti-Semitic controversy suggesting GOP politicians take pro-Israeli stance for money
TYT Investigates/YouTube; Reuters
- The Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar waded into another controversy on Sunday, when the freshman Minnesota Congresswoman took aim at a prominent pro-Israel lobby group, inviting widespread accusations of anti-Semitism.
- Omar seemed to connect GOP backing of Israel with generous political donations, referring directly to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC, a fiercely vocal Israeli pressure group, but one that says it doesn't give money directly to political campaigns.
- The comments immediately drew fire, from inside and outside of politics.
- And especially from within democratic circles.
Even Chelsea Clinton is going to bed on Sunday night angry with Ilhan Omar.
The first-term Democrat from Minnesota is certainly unafraid of controversy, suggesting in a tweet that the Republican Party maintains a tight backing of Israel thanks largely to a steady stream of political funding.
According to Politico, Omar, by singling out the work of the prominent pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC, the freshman representative tapped into a rich and virulent vein of anti-Semitism that agitates about the overt influence of Jewish money in US politics and its impact on the rest of the world.
In a Sunday night twitter exchange that may dominate Monday morning headlines, Omar appeared to take an opportunity to forward her criticism of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) who has previously taken Omar to task over anti-Israeli statements.
Following a tweet that mocked McCarthy's pro-Israeli links, Omar tweeted, "It's all about the Benjamins baby," followed by a music emoji.
According to politico, the inference is that money was calling the tune for McCarthy.
Omar then tweeted: "AIPAC, as an explanation and clarification of where the source of the money originates.
An Omar spokesman told Politico that the tweets "speak for themselves."
Omar's comments and her isolation of AIPAC, one of the most influential lobbying groups in Washington, but one that does not pay directly into campaign coffers, showed up on the political radar instantly.
"Implying that Americans support Israel because of money alone is offensive," he wrote.
Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of presidential candidate Hilary and former president Bill Clinton is married to a the investor Marc Mezvinsky a man of Jewish descent.
In response To Omar, Clinton tweeted, "We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism."
AIPAC also put out a statement condemning the comment.
"We are proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. 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."
Omar and freshman Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib - the first two Muslim women elected to Congress - back the Palestinian-led BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) in the disputed territories.
This is Omar's second tweet toward racially tinged controversy in a few weeks. Following President Donald Trump's State of the Union, she tweeted a video captioned, "When I hear Individual 1 spout hate about immigrants."
The video shows Omar dancing to "This is America," a song about racism in the US by Childish Gambino.
"Individual 1" is how filings from the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation refer to the president.
In November 2012, during the Israeli military campaign against Hamas, Omar tweeted that, "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel."