Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Omar Thanks Jewish Colleagues for 'Educating' Her on Anti-Semitism

Omar Thanks Jewish Colleagues for 'Educating' Her on Anti-Semitism

Ms Omar - who in November became one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress - has been criticised before for criticisms of Israel.

"As Americans and Jews, we expect our politicians to condemn bigotry, not to fuel it. Words matter".

The controversy started on Sunday night when Ms Omar suggested in a tweet that the outrage about her criticism of Israel from other lawmakers was driven by money.

"Bad form, Congresswoman. That's the second anti-Semitic trope you've tweeted", she added.

Omar was roundly criticized for her comments, with AIPAC among those responding. "We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work".

Quote-tweeting a criticism of McCarthy by journalist Glenn Greenwald, Omar wrote: "It's all about the Benjamins baby".

Still, some who agree with Omar's position on Israel argued that she could criticise the Israeli government or the pro-Israel lobbying establishment without using stereotypes that Jews find offensive. "Congresswoman Omar's comments are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself", he wrote.

Their belief that Jews, and only Jews, must rule over Jerusalem to herald the return of Jesus Christ influenced President Trump's decision last December to reverse almost seven decades of American foreign policy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "But to go a step further and retweet someone declaring their pain at her sentiment is simply unacceptable". "It's gone on too long and we must be willing to address it", Omar said.

Omar tweeted that AIPAC, a group which doesn't actually have its own PAC, was paying Congress members, specifically Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), to support Israel.

"AIPAC!" Omar replied, name-dropping the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. The popular weeklong excursions for members of Congress, their families and some senior staff can cost upward of $12,000 per person and are meant to "educate political leaders and influencers about the importance of the US - Israel relationship through firsthand experiences".

Ilhan Omar "unequivocally" apologized Monday for tweets suggesting that members of Congress support Israel because they are being paid to do so, which drew bipartisan criticism and a rebuke from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. These tactics have painted some unfairly and we must guard against this as well, because to unfairly accuse someone of a particular hatred undermines the legitimacy of the condemnations when they are truly warranted. Alvin Rosenfeld, director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism at Indiana University, said that "there is obviously a serious fight going on within the Democratic Party with respect to how to deal with BDS and some within their party who advocate for it". "But these efforts have failed".

"We ought to be careful not to construe in that anything other than a concern about the fact that money has undue influence on political decision making", Kildee said.

"We call on the House leadership to take immediate action, so that the message is clear: anti-Semitism will not be tolerated", said Jonathan Greenblatt, the league's national director.

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