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Omar’s Anti-Semitic Tweets Set Off a Bipartisan Firestorm

By Michele Blood | February 11, 2019

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) — elected to the House during the November 2018 midterms — posted a series of tweets on Sunday that influencers on both sides of the aisle quickly and roundly condemned as anti-Semitic.

Omar’s initial tweet that prompted an avalanche of condemnation from figures as disparate as Chelsea Clinton, Nikki Haley, and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro suggested that the GOP’s support of Israel was driven by money.

“It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” Omar wrote on Sunday, appending a musical note symbol.

“Benjamins” here appears, among other things, to be a reference to lyrics from a 1997 Puff Daddy rap song.

Omar’s tweet was in response to a note from journalist Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept.

Greenwald’s own tweet seemed to accuse House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) of sacrificing Omar’s and her colleague Rashida Tlaib’s (D-Mich.) First Amendment rights for the sake of defending Israel.

“GOP leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel. It’s stunning how much time U.S. political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking [the] free speech rights of Americans,” Greenwald tweeted over the weekend.

He then attached a link to an article in Haaretz that described McCarthy’s intentions to hold Omar and Tlaib to account if their Democrat colleagues failed to do so.

Omar is one of two newly elected Muslim women serving in the House; Tlaib is the other. Both have come under fire recently for their alleged anti-Semitism.

Related: Omar Needs to Understand Our Country More Before She Seeks to Change It

“If they do not take action I think you’ll see action from myself,” McCarthy told reporters on Friday, as multiple outlets reported. “This cannot sustain itself. It’s unacceptable in this country,” he also said.

“When they stay silent they’re just as guilty,” McCarthy said about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders who have failed to condemn Omar and Tlaib, as Roll Call noted.

Omar doubled down on her Israel-related remarks in a one-word tweet afterward that spoke volumes: “AIPAC,” she wrote.

AIPAC stands for American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group.

Batya Ungar-Sargon of the Forward had chastised Omar for her repeated anti-Semitic tropes and asked whom Omar thought was paying off American politicians’ support of Israel.

AIPAC’s mission is to “strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel,” according to its website.

“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,” AIPAC tweeted on Sunday.

The avalanche of condemnation for Omar’s remarks continued in the overnight hours of Sunday and into Monday.

Among the critics were Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who coincidentally spoke at an AIPAC event on Sunday.

“Our support for a secure Israel as a beacon of democracy must remain unwavering. Proud to speak at @AIPAC’s Phoenix dinner last night about strengthening and deepening this alliance,” Sinema tweeted on Monday.

See also the tweets below on this issue.

And check out this video:

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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