- The Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar waded into another controversy on Sunday, taking aim at a prominent pro-Israel lobby group and 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.
- The comments immediately drew fire from inside and outside of politics, especially from within Democratic circles.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, the first-term Democrat from Minnesota suggested 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, Omar appeared to forward her criticism of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has previously taken Omar to task over anti-Israel 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 influencing 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.” AIPAC does not pay directly into campaign coffers.
A few minutes later, freshman Rep. Max Rose of New York criticised Omar’s tweets.
“Implying that Americans support Israel because of money alone is offensive,” he wrote.
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, tweeted in response to Omar, “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 isn’t the first time Omar has been critical of Israel. 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.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.