Ilhan Omar says lawmakers bribed to support Israel: ‘It’s all about the Benjamins baby’
Rep. Ilhan Omar came under fire from for controversial tweets over the weekend that implied U.S. lawmakers are bribed into supporting Israel.
Ms. Omar, Minnesota Democrat, retweeted a post from reporter Glenn Greenwald that slammed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s criticism of Ms. Omar and her colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat.
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Ms. Omar tweeted.
Many understood the tweet as suggesting that Republicans are influenced and financed by pro-Israel groups. They saw it promoting an anti-Semitic trope that Jewish people try to control politics with money.
Ms. Omar has faced criticism before from Republicans for her tweets. She denied being anti-Semitic and has blamed Republicans for misconstruing her comments about Israel as anti-Semitic.
Batya Ungar-Sargon, an opinion editor at the Jewish publication The Forward, wanted to know who Ms. Omar thought was paying off Americans.
“AIPAC!” Ms. Omar replied, referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Her comments brought a wave of backlash from across the aisle, but also from two of her fellow Democrats.
Chelsea Clinton, former President Bill Clinton’s daughter, weighed by replying to Ms. Ungar-Sargon, who accused Ms. Omar of anti-Semitism.
“Co-signed as an American. We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures not to traffic in anti-Semitism,” she wrote.
After facing backlash of her own for criticizing Ms. Omar, Ms. Clinton agreed to reach out to the freshman congresswoman but stressed the importance of denouncing anti-Semitism.
Ms. Omar said she would be happy to talk to Ms. Clinton but focused on Republican criticism.
“We must call out smears from the GOP and their allies,” Ms. Omar wrote. ” And I believe we can do that without criticizing people for their faith. I look forward to building an inclusive movement for justice with you.
New York Rep. Max Rose, also a freshman Democrat like Ms. Omar, slammed her comments and the exchange with Ms. Ungar-Sargon in a statement.
“Congresswoman Omar’s statements are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself,” he wrote. “Implying that Americans support Israel because of money alone is offensive enough. But to go a step further, and retweet someone declaring their pain at there sentiment is simply unacceptable.”
Congresswoman Omars statements are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself. pic.twitter.com/u3f2JHESFA Max Rose (@MaxRose4NY) February 11, 2019