Ilhan Omar Faces Widespread Condemnation for Using Anti-Semitic Tropes

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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) is once again facing backlash for multiple anti-Semitic tweets in which she suggested that Jewish money is responsible for bipartisan support of Israel.

In response to journalist Glenn Greenwald’s claim that “it’s stunning how much time U.S. political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans,” Omar suggested that it’s “all about the Benjamins baby.”

Then, when another journalist said she would “love to know who [Omar] thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel,” Omar responded by exclaiming, “AIPAC,” which stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Her tweets were later condemned by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as several Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

“As Americans and Jews, we expect our politicians to condemn bigotry, not to fuel it. Words matter. At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in the U.S. and abroad, Rep. Omar is promoting the ugly, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews have an outsized influence over politics,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of ADL.

“The notion that wealthy Jews are controlling the government is a longstanding anti-Semitic trope and one of the pillars of modern anti-Semitism, a retread of ideas spread by bigots from David Duke to Louis Farrakhan,” he added, calling on House leaders “to take immediate action.”

Democratic leadership later met with Omar to discuss her comments, and released a statement that called Omar’s tweets “prejudicial” and “deeply offensive.”

“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,” the statement read.

Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan released a statement Monday morning, calling on Minnesota’s congressional delegation to condemn Omar’s remarks.

“It’s clear that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar harbors deep-seated anti-Semitic views. There’s no place for this in Congress or among our Minnesota congressional delegation. Presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar and all of Minnesota’s Democrat delegation should not be silent, and should condemn Rep. Omar for her continued anti-Semitism. Rep. Omar should be immediately stripped of her committee assignments,” Carnahan said.

Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D-Golden Valley) condemned Omar’s tweets in a Monday morning statement.

“Anti-Semitism is at its heart a conspiracy theory which falsely claims Jews exercise undue and malevolent influence at the expense of others. As leaders, it is important for us to stand up to anti-Semitism and show solidarity with the Jewish community. Let me add my voice to those from across the political spectrum, including within progressive circles in the Jewish community, in condemning Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s latest tweet,” Winkler said.

Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-05) also responded to Omar’s comments, but never mentioned Omar by name in her statement.

“As members of Congress, we should never engage in rhetoric or actions that attack people based on their faith. We have a responsibility to hold ourselves to higher standards, reflecting the values of those who elected us, and that includes proactively educating ourselves to ensure we do not engage in divisive rhetoric in any form,” she said.

Omar did eventually apologize, but was again criticized for citing the “problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry.”

“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,” she said. “We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to anthony.gockowski@gmail.com.
Photo “Ilhan Omar” by Ilhan Omar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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