Rep. Ilhan Omar once tweeted that “Israel had hypnotized the world” and that is why American’s support it. Yesterday, Rep. Omar argued that Jews bought the support for Israel from Republican members of Congress, saying, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!” And when asked who bought them off, she said, “AIPAC!”
It is wrong to argue that she is simply ignorant of the facts and that is an excuse for her words. She has repeatedly refused to meet with her own Democratic congressional colleagues who have sought to help her understand and avoid using Antisemitic (anti-Jewish) tropes and making hateful hurtful statements about Jews.
These aren’t mistakes. They are not accidental uses of Antisemitic tropes. She believes these things and has expressed them over the longer term and defended them when confronted. Racism and bigotry are not acceptable no matter your faith or the color of your skin.
Just as @SteveKingIA has been justifiably condemned for his statements in support of bigotry, so too those who would condemn him for those statements, must also do so here or else confront the accusation that hatred and bigotry are only condemned when the speaker is not a political ally.
Meanwhile, one of the saddest things about @IlhanMN’s multiple Jew-hating tweets is that too many progressives will excuse them because she is a Muslim and too many Conservatives will argue that it should be expected because she is a Muslim. Both would be wrong. Being Muslim does not automatically make someone hate Jews or express hateful and ignorant things about Jews or Israel. I have many Muslim friends, including immigrants from Africa and the Middle East and Arab Muslim residents of Israel, who do not share these bigoted views of Jews or Israel.
AIPAC is the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. It makes no campaign contributions and does not endorse candidates. It advocates in a non-partisan way for a strong US-Israel relationship and has a long history of support by the vast majority of members of congress from both parties, because support for Israel is a bi-partisan issue.
People are certainly welcome to disagree with the positions taken and advocated by AIPAC and its supporters, of whose number I am one, but supporters of AIPAC don’t take those positions because someone hypnotized them or paid them off. They take those positions because they believe them to be right, just like Rep. Omar seems to believe her bigoted statements to be right.
Those who care about bigotry have to speak out in condemnation here and the US House of Representatives must take appropriate action in response to her statements.
Rep. Omar issued an apology this afternoon.
“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,” Omar said. “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.”She continued, “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.”