Jewish advocacy group seeks apology from Rep. Omar following 'anti-Semitic' tweets

Charlene Craig
February 12, 2019

Within hours, Omar issued a statement, saying, "I unequivocally apologize".

The last straw came yesterday, when Omar suggested in a tweet that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R, supported Israel only for campaign donations.

Critics of the tweet included many Republican members of Congress, former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and former ambassador to Israel under President Barack Obama Daniel B. Shapiro.

Pelosi was joined in the message by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, third-ranking Democrat James Clyburn of SC and three other members of House Democratic leadership.

"Let's all be especially careful about what we say in the fact that, you know, what I, for example, as a northeastern white man might consider legitimate discourse may be heard differently by African-Americans", said Himes.

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McCarthy pointed to actions that he took to punish King, such as blocking him from committee assignments, and criticized Democratic leaders for being silent about their own members.

"Accurately describing how the Israel lobby works is not anti-semitism", Ashley Feinberg, a HuffPost reporter, wrote in a tweet that was shared by Omar. Two other Democratic representatives wrote a letter to congressional leaders saying they are "deeply alarmed by the language", according to the Washington Post.

Omar supports a movement known as BDS, for "boycott, divestment and sanctions" aimed at Israel. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Elaine Luria of Virginia, does not name lawmakers but it is clearly a reference to freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who is the target of recent criticism on the left and right for comments seen as both overt and subtly anti-Semitic.

Meanwhile Omar, the congresswoman for Minnesota, said she is working to bring some balance to the United States position, which now gives priority to Israel.

Omar's attempted apology drew stern criticism online with many notable figures noting that they did not believe her apology was honest or that she had actually learned anything.

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New York Democratic Rep. Max Rose tweeted, "When someone uses hateful and offensive tropes and words against people of any faith, I will not be silent".

Omar painted herself as a victim of attacks over her "identity", and continued to espouse false anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about AIPAC giving money to members of Congress as she also tried to score political points. And while her remarks about AIPAC don't necessarily show she's anti-Semitic - some of AIPAC's best friends have good reason to exaggerate its importance as well - she is playing into stereotypes that aid Republican efforts to suggest that any criticism of Bibi Netanyahu's policies exist on a slippery slope that leads to passing around copies of Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Mr McCarthy himself faced condemnation previous year for a now-deleted tweet that suggested billionaire Jewish donors were attempting to "buy" the mid-term elections.

AIPAC is a significant player in terms of lobbying, accounting for the vast majority of lobbying spending by pro-Israel groups, spending more than $3.5 million in 2018.

Omar has yet to delete the offensive tweets. "However racist or bigoted tropes can be intentionally or unintentionally triggered in making those critiques and yes that matters - it always matters", Hend Amry tweeted.

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