Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has only been in Congress for a little over a month, but she’s already facing sharp condemnation from her fellow Democrats and the Anti-Defamation League.
Omar on Sunday had responded to a tweet about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)’s support for Israel by writing, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” In a second tweet, she specifically said she was talking about contributions from the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, a nonprofit that donates to pro-Israel lawmakers. Omar was criticized by those who said she was perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes, with Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Elaine Luria (D-Va.) saying that “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,” per Politico.
On Monday, more Democrats joined in on the criticism. “Trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes is unacceptable and deeply worrisome to the Jewish community,” House Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) also said that Omar “appears to traffic in old anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money” and that “her words are deeply hurtful and offensive.” He went on to say that Omar “failed the test of leadership with these comments.” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y) called the comments “shocking.” Omar also serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Anti-Defamation League condemned Omar for pushing an “ugly, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory” and said House Democrats must take “immediate action,” per The Washington Post‘s Mike DeBonis. Pointing to previous comments from Omar, the organization also called the tweet “part of a disturbing pattern of behavior that must end.”
Omar has thus far not apologized and has continued to double down on her remarks, retweeting posts defending her original comments including one from HuffPost‘s Ashley Feinberg, who wrote, “accurately describing how the Israel lobby works is not anti-Semitism.” Brendan Morrow