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Ilhan Omar Is Back With More Anti-Semitism – And A Democrat Fires Back

While the fact that there are so many bad actors on both sides is discouraging, it is refreshing when bipartisan voices can say, “This is not acceptable.”

Ilhan Omar is back with more anti-Semitic comments. Over the weekend the freshman Democrat congresswoman from Minnesota got into hot water for a series of tweets that alleged that US foreign policy controlled by Israeli interests.

On Sunday night, Glenn Greenwald, a journalist at The Intercept, tweeted criticism of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s plans to discipline Rep. Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for anti-Semitic statements, saying, “It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”

Rep. Omar retweeted Greenwald’s tweet with the added comment, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” Omar’s tweet was appended with an emoji of musical notes.

Rather than being a reference to the Biblical tribe of Benjamin, Omar’s tweet apparently refers to a 1997 single by Puff Daddy. In the song, the term “Benjamins” means $100 bills, which feature the portrait of Benjamin Franklin.

Omar was quickly called out on her response by Batya Ungar-Sargon, opinion editor at The Forward, who asked who Omar “thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, though I think I can guess” and noted that the tweet was the “second anti-Semitic trope you’ve tweeted.”

Apparently not willing to let any doubt about her anti-Semitic conspiracy beliefs remain, Omar tweeted back, “AIPAC!”

AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a bipartisan lobbying group. AIPAC is the largest pro-Israel group, but it is not a political action committee and does not give donations to political candidates. Of the pro-Israel groups that do donate to candidates, more money goes to Democrats than Republicans.

Rep. Omar’s tweets hearken back to the tired old conspiracy theory that Jews are puppet masters that control the world from behind the scenes. This same claim has been made by generations of anti-Semites for hundreds of years.

The truth is that Jewish-Americans, as well as pro-Israel gentiles, have the right to petition the government just as anyone else does. If the US has a close relationship with Israel, it is because we share cultural and political similarities as well as a literal kinship between many Americans and their relatives in the Jewish state. Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, also shares common enemies with the United States.

One of those enemies is Hamas, a terrorist group that is responsible for killing Americans as well as Israelis. In 2012, Omar tweeted support for Hamas and has apparently never recanted.  

Rep. Omar’s most recent anti-Semitic tweets have been denounced by both sides of the aisle. One of the most vocal critics on the left has been Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Chelsea wrote several disapproving tweets including one that responded directly to Omar’s “AIPAC” tweet, saying, “We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.”

In another tweet, Clinton said that she would confront Omar directly on Monday.

In recent history, there has been bad behavior on both sides of the political aisle and all too often partisans look past their own side’s failings because it is politically inconvenient to speak out. While the fact that there are so many bad actors on both sides is discouraging, it is refreshing when bipartisan voices can say, “This is not acceptable.” The only thing better would be for parties to stop nominating racists and bigots.

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