In a new round of tweets on February 10, US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar claimed “it’s all about the Benjamins baby” in response to a question about GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and criticism of Israel.
Glenn Greenwald had noted: “GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for
@IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel. It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”
Asked by Batya Ungar-Sargon “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,” Omar replied “AIPAC!”
She was immediately critiqued by a wide variety of voices, including Chelsea Clinton who noted “We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.”
Omar appeared . to re-tweet another anti-semitic tweet before apparently un-retweeting it.
CNN’s Jake Tapper was also critical:
“Just to note regarding this tweet from Rep Omar suggesting that support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins” — GOP Leader McCarthy’s comments were focused not on policy differences but on what he sees as anti-Semitic rhetoric from Reps. Omar and Tlaib”
The AJC wrote “Suggesting that a Jewish organization is buying off American politicians is both demonstrably false and stunningly anti-Semitic. American politicians are pro-Israel because Americans are (https://bit.ly/2SES7DG ). Apologize.”
Not everyone agreed. Sarah Silverman responded. “I truly don’t think she meant it that way AT ALL, but Im surprised she’s earnestly not aware of the people that will absolutely take it that way..”
And Roweida Abdelaziz noted “She’s clearly talking about Israeli lobbying money. This isn’t a dog whistle.”
Seth Mandel noted “If you write the Omar antisemitism story as “Republicans pounce” please stop communicating forever.”
Elad Nehorai argued: “So when are the Jews allowed to complain? Once it’s mainstream that Israel buys off politicians or once this inevitably leads to saying Jews own politicians? I just wanna follow the rules that others have set for us before I try and say something about how dangerous this is.”
Rep. Max Rose: “Congresswoman Omar’s statements are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself.”
Clinton said she would reach out to Omar about the issue.
Omar responded: “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.”
Reprinted with author’s permission from Seth Frantzman