- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2019

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 not only brought a wave of backlash from Republicans, but from members of her own party.

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.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey Democrat, accused Ms. Omar of avoiding his attempts to talk with her about the problems with her comments.

“For nearly two weeks, Rep. @IlhanMN has avoided meeting with me to discuss why anti-Semitic tropes like these are hurtful to so many Americans,” he tweeted.

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.”

Several other Democrats have spoken out against their colleague, including Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, one of the most prominent House Democrats.

“Her words are deeply hurtful and offensive, particularly as they build on a previous comment she made about Jews ‘hypnotizing’ the world in support of Israel,” he wrote in a statement. “In this fragile moment in our nation’s history, we must all redouble our efforts to engage in policy debates in ways that respect the dignity and humanity of all people.”

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide