Omar criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a series of tweets on Tuesday.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
On Tuesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) unleashed a torrent of criticism against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with over 10 tweets on Twitter. In his televised speech to the AIPAC Policy Conference yesterday, Netanyahu had alluded to anti-Semitic comments she had made in February.
“Netanyahu and the GOP may want to make this about one Muslim-American refugee’s views, but I am not alone. From
@jstreetdotorg to @ifnotnow, @PeaceNowUS @moveon and more—there are so many who have spoken out on this issue,” Omar said in one of her tweets.
She hashtagged several groups, three of which are on the fringes of the American Jewish community and which support the creation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria.
Omar’s tweets were prompted by a jab Netanyahu took at her in his AIPAC speech, in which he said “Take it from this Benjamin, it’s not about the Benjamins.”
Netanyahu was referring to Omar’s comments last month in which she tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” She meant American $100 bills, insinuating that Israel supporters bought support among U.S. politicians.
That insinuation became an explicit denunciation when, in response to a tweet by Batya Ungar-Sargon, an editor at The Forward newspaper, as to who exactly Omar meant was paying off American politicians, Omar tweeted “AIPAC!”
AIPAC, the American Israel Public Relations Committee, is the largest pro-Israel lobbying group in the U.S. It defended itself against Omar’s attack, which was also roundly condemned by Republicans and Democrats alike, as it tapped into the historically anti-Semitic trope of Jews using money to gain power.
Roughly two weeks later, Omar then accused Israel supporters of “pushing allegiance to a foreign country” in remarks at a town hall meeting in Washington, D.C. She doubled down on those remarks in a tweet in which she said, ““I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”
Those remarks, which also borrowed heavily from the anti-Semitic trope that Jews are guilty of dual loyalty, led to a new round of criticism against the freshman congresswoman, who refused to apologize.
Democrats, coming under fire from Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who described them as the “anti-Jewish” party, made strong speeches at AIPAC to try and stem the damage.
On Tuesday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said “to be anti-Semitic is to be anti-American.” She also made reference to Omar, though not by name, saying: “In our democratic societies, we should welcome legitimate debate on how to best honor our values and advance our priorities – without questioning loyalty or patriotism.”
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the number two Democrat in the House, also made a strong statement in favor of Israel at AIPAC on Sunday. “I stand with Israel, proudly and unapologetically,” he said.
He, too, made reference to Omar’s comments, saying “So, when someone accuses American supporters of Israel of dual loyalty, I say: Accuse me. I am part of a large, bipartisan coalition in Congress supporting Israel. I tell Israel’s detractors: Accuse us.”