Rep. Ilhan Omar apologizes after speaking out about AIPAC: “I am listening and learning. Anti-Semitism is real and painful”

Picture: Lorie Shaull

Rep. Ilhan Omar apologized on Monday after she spoke out about AIPAC and its influence in some Congress members. “Listening and learning, but standing strong,” she said.

Her tweet read like this: “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

“At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it,” said Omar in a letter she published on Twitter.

Freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) suggested Republican support of Israel is fueled by donations from the AIPAC or American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel group that spent a record $1.7 million as it lobbied Congress to review Iran deal — according toThe Washington Post.

Congresswoman Omar has been very critical of the Israeli government over its treatment of Palestinians, she even supported putting economic and political pressure on Israel over its“illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, subjecting approximately 2 million inhabitants to collective punishment and a growing humanitarian crisis.”

Omar responded to a Glenn Greenwald tweet on Sunday that said: “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.”

Rep. Omar replied, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

Max Rose (D-NY) declared “Congresswoman Omar’s statements are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself,” and said: “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,” referring to Batya Ungar-Sargon.

An image posted on Twitter this Monday by Matthew Yglesias helped us knowing AIPAC a little better: “The United States Congress has provided Israel with the strongest support of any institution in the world. Maintaining bipartisan congressional support for Israel is crucial,” to be eligible for Congressional Club membership of AIPAC, individuals would have to make “a minimum financial commitment of 2,500 a year and commit to giving political contributions in a clearly pro-Israel context to candidates running for the United States House of Representatives or Senate.”

Senior investigative reporter atSludgeAlex Kotch joined the debate on AIPAC and stated: “I’m Jewish. Everyone knows AIPAC is a very influential pro-Israel lobby that spends money to influence members of Congress. Not every sentence involving Jewish people and money is anti-Semitic.”


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