Freshmen Rep. Ilhan Omar apologized Monday afternoon for using anti-Semitic tropes after coming under fire for a series of tweets that critics said perpetuated stereotypes about Jewish people.
Omar, D-Minnesota, suggested on Twitter that American politicians who support Israel are influenced by money donated by the American Israel Pacific Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, a well-known pro-Israel group, according to CNN and The Washington Post.
“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 Monday in a statement. “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.”
Omar sparked a firestorm Sunday when she responded to a Twitter post from journalist Glenn Greenwald, CNN reported.
"GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel,” Greenwald’s tweet said. “It's stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans."
"It's all about the Benjamins baby," Omar responded, ending her tweet with a musical note emoji in an apparent reference to the 1997 single “It’s All About the Benjamins” by Puff Daddy.
After Twitter users began to question who Omar believed to be paying for lawmakers’ pro-Israel views, she responded with a single word, “AIPAC!”
In her statement Monday, Omar highlighted “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,” she wrote.
Earlier Monday, Democratic leaders in the House condemned Omar’s statement and called for her to apologize for her “deeply offensive” use of “anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters.” In a message posted Monday on Twitter, Pelosi said she and Omar had spoken ad "agreed that we must use this moment to move forward as we reject anti-Semitism in all forms."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, earlier said he would take disciplinary action against Omar “this week,” according to Politico. His office told the news site that lawmakers were considering forcing a vote on a resolution that condemns anti-Semitism.
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