Dem. Leaders Demand Omar Apologize for Endorsing ‘Anti-Semitic Tropes’

Omar was previously criticized over her ties to anti-Semitic Palestinian activists, one of whom served as a top fundraiser on her recent congressional campaign, and has expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to challenge Israel's occupation of the West Bank through financial pressure.

Omar has repeatedly tweeted and retweeted remarks against Jews, Israel, and members of Congress supportive of them.

Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) tweeted Sunday night, "Congresswoman's Omar's statements are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself".

Shapiro likened her tweet about the influence of AIPAC to an anti-Semitic trope that politicians who support the Jewish state have been "bought off by American Jewish money". Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel said he would not tolerate them and found it "shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of "Jewish money.'" He said he will emphasize to members of the panel of both parties that the American-Israeli relationship is important".

The flap started over a tweet from Omar that said, "It's all about the Benjamins baby", and included a music-note emoji, an apparent reference to the 1997 Puff Daddy single featuring the Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Kim and The Lox. She did, however, "reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA, or the fossil fuel industry". "I think it is actually exciting because we are finally able to have conversations that we weren't really willing to before", she told CNN. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a joint statement with Democratic leaders condemned Omar's remarks on Monday.

The freshman Democrat came under a massive wave of bipartisan backlash Monday after she implied that pro-Israel lobbyist groups, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, were using campaign contributions to influence US lawmakers. "We urge you to join us in calling on each member of our Caucus to unite against anti-Semitism and hateful tropes and stereotypes".

Pelosi was joined in the message by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, third-ranking Democrat James Clyburn of SC and three other members of House Democratic leadership.

For weeks, congressional Republicans have criticized both women for what they see as anti-Semitic rhetoric, and Omar's placement on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but the letter is the first official act by some of their own Democratic colleagues.

New York Times columnist Bari Weiss devoted a column to Omar's use of one such trope in "Ilhan Omar and the Myth of Jewish Hypnosis".

"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.

Many took to Twitter to accuse Omar of anti-Semitism, with others claiming ignorance about AIPAC.

Max Rose, who won a tight race in NY, said the Democratic Party and the USA should be a place where "we celebrate the diversity of our people".

  • Tracy Klein