Ilhan Omar Apologizes for Antisemitic Missive After Criticism From Democrat Leaders

McCarthy Pelosi

McCarthy Pelosi

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar on Sunday sparked criticism and charges of anti-Semitism by suggesting Republican advocacy for Israel was a matter of money.

Several Democrats and Republicans spoke out to say Omar's prejudicial accusations were wrong about why lawmakers support Israel, arguing that the support is based on shared values and strategic interests.

Omar's tweets drew a rebuke from Democratic House leaders, who called on her to apologize on Monday. "It is deeply disappointing and disturbing to hear Representative Ilhan Omar's choice of words in her exchange with a journalist yesterday, wherein she appears to traffic in old anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money", he said. An hour and a quarter later, Omar apologized and said it wasn't her intention to offend anyone.

When I see Israel institute laws that recognize it as a Jewish state and do not recognize the other religions living in the country, and we still hold it up as a democracy in the Middle East, I nearly chuckle. "I look forward to building an inclusive movement for justice with you", she tweeted at Clinton.

Nearly all the six leaders who signed the statement (below) have spoken at American Israel Public Affairs Committee - AIPAC- events or been adoring of the Israeli government.

"I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry".

"The anti-Semitism that has long existed in the fringes has found its way to the United States Congress in the form of extreme liberals like Congresswoman Ilhan Omar", said Sen.

On Monday afternoon, Pelosi, joined by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and other party leaders, issued a statement of condemnation.

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The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is not a political action committee, does not make campaign contributions to politicians, but its individual members can make donations, and the organization spends millions on lobbying efforts for pro-Israel legislation every year.

MI congresswoman Tlaib said on Saturday that she wanted to highlight "issues such as racism and Israel's violations of the Palestinians' human rights". The Post reported that the GOP is trying to paint itself as the better defender of Israel and to increase its appeal to traditionally Democratic Jewish voters, at a time that dozens of liberal Democrats have been critical of Israeli policy.

Jewish Democratic lawmakers from South Florida were some of the loudest voices on Monday condemning weekend comments from a Muslim Democratic colleague that were widely seen as anti-Semitic. "But to go a step further and retweet someone declaring their pain at her sentiment is simply unacceptable".

A spokesman for Omar has not responded to NPR's request for comment on the letter.

He is a co-chairman of the Democratic Israel Working Group.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat who represents parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties, also condemned Omar's statements, made on Twitter.

When Tlaib used profanity on the day she was sworn in to threaten the president with impeachment, Pelosi said she has a "generational" aversion to such language, but she's "not in the business of censorship".

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