Muslim Congresswoman’s Latest Israel Tweet Sparks Outrage From Democrats, Chelsea Clinton

By Zachary Stieber

The latest antisemitic missive from Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) sparked heavy criticism from many, including Chelsea Clinton.

Omar has a history of antisemitic views that have drawn widespread condemnation just weeks after taking office in January.

Omar, the first female Muslim Congresswoman, said in an infamous missive posted several years ago’ “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

Omar has refused to apologize for the message and instead has repeatedly attacked Israel in recent interviews and statements while largely ignoring the plight of Muslim women across much of the Middle East.

On Feb. 10, Omar launched a renewed attack on Jews by perpetuating the conspiracy theory that Jews financially control American politics. Responding to an article about how House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was considering punishing Omar and another Muslim congresswoman, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over their antisemitic comments, Omar wrote, “It’s all about the Benjamins [money] baby.”

Batya Ungar-Sargon, the opinion editor of The Forward, a Jewish newspaper, responded to Omar by saying: “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,” she added.

Instead of apologizing, Omar again doubled down, saying, “AIPAC!” referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Omar was roundly criticized for her comments, with AIPAC among those responding.

“We are proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the US-Israel relationship,” AIPAC tweeted Sunday evening. “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.”

A number of lawmakers and public figures also condemned Omar’s attacks, including Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Her comments trouble me,” Clinton wrote to a follower, noting that she wanted to meet with Omar to express her concern. She also shared a missive in which someone stated: “Criticism of Israel isn’t anti-semitism, just like criticism of a Muslim majority state isn’t Islamophobia, by default. However racist or bigoted tropes can be intentionally or unintentionally triggered in making those critiques and yes that matters-it always matters.”

Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) wrote in a statement that “Omar’s statements are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself. 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 her sentiment is simply unacceptable.”

“Rep. Omar’s tweet yesterday went too far. To suggest that pro-Israel support ‘Is all about the Benjamins,’ and her follow up that she is referring to AIPAC, is not only inaccurate but conjures up the worst anti-Semitic stereotypes,” added Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.). “AIPAC is a not-for-profit that promotes US – Israel relations and specifically does not make donations to political campaigns. My support for Israel is based upon our shared values, our national security interests, and the history of the region.”

Daniel Shapiro, former U.S. ambassador to Israel under former president Barack Obama, added that Omar’s “outrageous comments equating politicians’ support for Israel with being bought off by American Jewish money are a vile anti-Semitic trope. They need to be condemned by all in our party.”

Shapiro said that some held off on criticizing Omar because they wanted to work with her. “But these efforts have failed. Her support for BDS is apparently her essence: blaming Israel alone for the conflict, absolving Palestinians of all responsibility, delegitimizing Israel’s very existence, &accusing its supporters of shallow motives &manipulation by Jewish money,” he said.

While Democrat leadership has remained quiet about the growing antisemitism in the party, two House Democrats, Reps. Josh Gottheimer (N.J.) and Elaine Luria (Va.) are collecting signatures for a letter to send to party leaders expressing deep concern over “recent rhetoric from certain members within our Caucus, including just last night, that has disparaged us and called into question our loyalty to our nation,” reported Politico.

“We must speak out when any Member—Democrat or Republican—uses harmful tropes and stereotypes, levels accusations of dual loyalty, or makes reckless statements like those yesterday,” the representatives wrote.