| February 10, 2019 11:43 PM
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was condemned Sunday by fellow Democrats after she accused a pro-Israel lobbying group of paying lawmakers in exchange for influence.
The latest controversy engulfing the freshman lawmaker centered on tweets she sent reacting to journalist Glenn Greenwald criticizing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for threatening punishment against Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., over their criticisms of Israel.
“It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” Omar said in one tweet, quoting a lyric from the 1997 song by rap artist Puff Daddy.
In a second tweet, Ilhan responded to Batya Ungar-Sargon, the opinion editor of the Forward newspaper, who said, “Would love to know who @IlhanMN thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, though I think I can guess. Bad form, Congresswoman. That’s the second anti-Semitic trope you’ve tweeted.”
“AIPAC!”, Ilhan exclaimed, referring to the American-Israel Political Action Committee, a prominent pro-Israel lobby.
A flurry of Democrats expressed outrage at Omar. Many said they took umbrage at the suggestion that pro-Israel lawmakers were motivated by “money alone.”
Freshman Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., shared a lengthy statement, saying Omar’s comments were “deeply hurtful to Jews.”
Chelsea Clinton, daughter to former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also chimed in, reacting to a follow-up tweet from Ungar-Sargon, who had said, “Please learn how to talk about Jews in a non-anti-Semitic way. Sincerely, American Jews.”
“Co-signed as an American. We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism,” Clinton said.
Co-signed as an American. We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton)
February 11, 2019
In a subsequent tweet exchange, Clinton and Omar agreed they should talk in the near future to discuss what had transpired.
👋🏽 Chelsea – I would be happy to talk. We must call out smears from the GOP and their allies. 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. 💪🏽 https://t.co/EGA9NQfBCi
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN)
February 11, 2019
AIPAC too responded to the burgeoning controversy. “We are proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the US-Israel relationship. Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests. We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work,” the group said.
Meanwhile, Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, called on House Democratic leadership to “speak out” against Omar.
Omar and Tlaib, who were the first Muslim women elected to Congress, have previously taken heat for their vocal support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against the Israel for its treatment of Palestinians.