Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Here’s what you need to know about the Ilhan Omar controversy

Here’s what you need to know about the Ilhan Omar controversy

"And I believe we can do that without criticizing people for their faith", Omar wrote.

The letter's authors, representatives Josh Gottheimer and Elaine Luria, who are both Jewish, did not mention Omar by name, but their intent was clear.

The tweets implied that members of Congress are being paid by a powerful interest group to support Israel.

Two Democratic lawmakers circulated a letter addressed to Pelosi and other leaders urging them to take "swift action" against anti-Semitic language by members.

"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.

Omar agreed to meet with Clinton on the issue, saying, "we must call out smears from the GOP and their allies". She said in a tweet she was "listening and learning, but standing strong".

AIPAC denied the assertion, and Democrats said they were shocked. Such legislation includes financial support for Israel and measures that would ban boycotts of Israel, including the BDS movement that Omar and Tlaib support.

The chairman of that committee, Democrat Eliot Engel of NY, issued a statement calling Omar's comment "shocking", and he promised to "shine a light on the evil of anti-Semitism and the danger it poses".


Deutch, who has emerged as a leading Democratic voice against anti-Semitism, also said the tweets reflected "anti-Semitic tropes". "At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in the US and overseas, Rep. Omar is promoting the ugly, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews have an outsized influence over politics", Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of ADL, said in a written statement. "AIPAC is a not-for-profit that promotes US - Israel relations and specifically does not make donations to political campaigns".

The Minnesota freshman has faced criticism for weeks over her positions on the Jewish state, but it boiled over late Sunday after she reacted to a Republican critic in a tweet.

Omar's tweets were not the first time she had made questionable comments concerning Jews.

Back in October, McCarthy posted a tweet that suggested three Jewish billionaire Democratic donors - George Soros, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg - were attempting to "buy" the 2018 midterm elections.

Omar has been critical of Israel's government over its treatment of Palestinians.

Their belief that Jews, and only Jews, must rule over Jerusalem to herald the return of Jesus Christ influenced President Trump's decision last December to reverse almost seven decades of American foreign policy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"No, criticism of Israel isn't anti-semitism, just like criticism of a Muslim majority state isn't islamophobia, by default", wrote Hend Amry, a Libyan-American writer. "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.

Omar has repeatedly tweeted and retweeted remarks against Jews, Israel, and members of Congress supportive of them.

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