Rep. Ilhan Omar apologizes for anti-Semitic tweets after backlash from congressional leaders

Rep. Ilhan Omar apologizes for anti-Semitic tweets after backlash from congressional leaders

Rep. Ilhan Omar apologizes for anti-Semitic tweets after backlash from congressional leaders

Aipac's website says it offers a congressional club membership that requires "political contributions in a clearly pro-Israel context to candidates".

Omar has expressed regret for tweeting in 2012, "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel".

Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, said her assertion that Jewish groups "manipulate government with money invokes age-old anti-Semitism".

I very recently defended Omar and her fellow Muslim representative, Rashida Tlaib, against McCarthy's attacks, but I can not countenance her attribution of pro-Israeli attitudes, within and beyond the Republican Party, to the "Jewish lobby", however it's defined.

When she acknowledged the pushback for her comments, Omar went a step further by saying "It's all about the Benjamins baby" and calling out the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

"I 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. Josh Gottheimer (NJ) and Elaine Luria (VA) - who urged Democratic leaders to take Omar to task over the offensive tweet.

"We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments", Pelosi added, as numerous other Democrats joined in rebuking the freshman lawmaker from Minnesota.

Omar, who has been accused of anti-Semitism before, sparked controversy recently by suggesting that Republican support for Israel lies in the financial backing they get from pro-Israel organizations.

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Daniel Shapiro, former USA 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".

The comments received swift condemnation from members of congress on both sides of the aisle, including from Pelosi, the ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.

Criticism also came from former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who was planning to reach out to Ms Omar's office on Monday to discuss "anti-semitic tropes".

Update (02/11/10, 3 p.m. ET): This story was updated to include a statement from Representative Ilhan Omar. "Congresswoman Omar's comments are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself", he wrote.

House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler, also of NY, said Ms Omar's choice of words was "deeply disappointing and disturbing".

In response to Ms Omar, Aipac tweeted: "Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests".

Still, even some who agree with Omar's position on Israel argued that she could criticize the Israeli government or the pro-Israel lobbying establishment without using stereotypes that Jews find offensive. She suggested her comments were being weaponized by the GOP: "We must call out smears from the GOP and their allies".

Shapiro said that some held off on criticizing Omar because they wanted to work with her.

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