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11 February 2019, 13:00 GMT
From Allan Smith
Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar apologized on Monday afternoon for controversial tweets about the lobby of Israel in the United States after her remarks were labeled by house-democratic leaders as "anti-Semitic tropics."
In a message on Twitter, Omar apologized "unequivocally" to the previous tweets and said she intended "never offend my voters or Jewish Americans as a whole". But the freshman legislator, who was one of the first two Muslim women elected for Congress last fall, added that she did not support the "problematic role of lobbyists in our politics."
Earlier on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders apologized to the Minnesota Democrat, which she did just before 15:00.
"Legitimate criticism of Israeli policy is protected by the values of freedom of expression and the democratic debate that the United States and Israel share," the leaders said in a joint statement. "But the use by Congresswoman Omar of anti-Semitic flashes and biased accusations of Israel's supporters is very insulting, we condemn these remarks and we call Congresswoman Omar to apologize immediately for these hurtful remarks."
In a message on TwitterPelosi said that she and Omar had discussed the tweets.
A proponent of the BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – movement aimed at putting economic and political pressure on Israel over the treatment of Palestinians, Omar tweeted Sunday evening that money was driving American politicians to defend Israel.
She then tweeted that AIPAC – the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee – paid politicians to support Israel.
Omar, a Somali refugee, came under attack from Democrats and Republicans who considered the comment on a lack of "Benjamins" as the reason why Israel is so firmly supported by the American government as an anti-Semitic trip with Jews and money.
Rep. Omar's use of an anti-Semitic stereotype was offensive and irresponsible.
This kind of intolerance does not belong in Congress – or anywhere in American society.
Nobody is allowed to call up anti-Semitic currents during policy violations.
– Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 11, 2019
Rep. Has been working for almost two weeks. @IlhanMN has avoided to discuss with me why anti-Semitic tropics like this are harmful to so many Americans. There is absolutely no room for this rhetoric in Congress – or anywhere else. https://t.co/0arhEAVyXO
– Rep. Josh Gottheimer (@RepJoshG) February 11, 2019
One of the oldest anti-Semitic conspiracies is about Jewish money as an instrument of global domination.
See the fake anti-Semitic & # 39; Protocols from Zion & # 39 ;.
She might as well have tweeted: "IN OUR HANDS IS THE BIGGEST POWER OF OUR DAGGOUD"
– Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 11, 2019
AIPAC, a non-profit organization that does not directly donate to candidates but is committed to a faithful pro-Israeli message in Washington, responded to Omar, tweeting that it is "proud that we are involved in the democratic process of strengthening the US-Israel relationship".
"Our dual efforts reflect American values and interests," continued the tweet. "We will in no way be put off by ill-informed and unlawful attacks on this important work."
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former president Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, tweeted that she would go Monday to Omar's office to "anti-Semitic tropes." to discuss. Omar tweeted that she would love to chat with Clinton.
Hi Melissa – I will reach her tomorrow. I also think that we should raise up anti-Semitic language and faces from all sides, especially among our elected officials and especially now.
– Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 11, 2019
Hello congresswoman! Totally agree. I will reach your office tomorrow. I look forward to talking about this thread and more, Chelsea
– Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 11, 2019
Omar, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House, initially responded in her earliest tweet to criticism from Kevin McCarthy, leader of the minority, of her earlier comments about Israel. McCarthy and other Republicans have called on Democratic leaders to take action against Omar and the fellow Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the other Muslim woman who was elected last year, because of their criticism of Israel. McCarthy compared it with Republicans who had taken action regarding the racist remarks of Republican deputy Steve King from Iowa.
In the meantime, Democratic representatives Josh Gottheimer from New Jersey and Elaine Luria from Virginia were seeking Monday signatures from colleagues from the Jewish House on a letter they intended to send to the House, calling Democratic leaders "every member of our To unite Caucus against anti-Semitism and hateful faces and stereotypes. "
"As Jewish members of Congress we are deeply alarmed by the recent rhetoric of certain members within our Caucus, including just last night, who disdained us and questioned our allegiance to our nation," wrote the Democrats in the letter, obtained by NBC. News.
Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House, said Monday in a statement that it is "shocking to call a representative of Congress to the anti-Semitic troop of" Jewish money & # 39 ;. "
"I fully expect that if we do not agree with the Foreign Affairs Committee, we will discuss the debate on benefits and never challenge Members' motives or resort to personal attacks," he said. "Criticism of US policy towards any country is fair, but this must be done on policy grounds."
McCarthy, who was under fire in October for placing – and then removing – his own so-called anti-Semitic tweet against the Jewish liberal mega donor George Soros, promised to "take action this week" to speak out against Omar's tweets . Because republicans are in the minority, they have limited possibilities, although they would have the option to submit a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment.
The reaction continued to pour in on Monday.
Democratic representative Dan Kildee from Michigan said the CNN day on the new day that he did not see the tweets as anti-Semitic.
"We have to be careful that we interpret nothing other than a concern that money has an undue influence on political decision-making," he said.
Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., Told CNN that those in a public office should be comfortable with offering opinions but should be careful how they pronounce things, especially if they refer to ethnic or religious groups who have suffered discrimination, so that their comments are right. t misinterpreted.
"It is perfectly legitimate to criticize Israel or the pro-Israel lobby," Himes said. "Please be careful to do it in a way that can not be interpreted as anti-Semitic."
He added: "I think this really is a good example of the need for all of us to be very, very specific about what we say, so that we do not come off as anti-Semitic, racist, intolerant."
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Said in a statement that "trafficking in antisemitic tropics is unacceptable and very worrying for the Jewish community."
"The use of stereotypes and abusive rhetoric by members of Congress, anti-Semitic or racist, must come to an end," he said. "They can never be part of any conversation about the Congress's policy, they do not belong in a conversation." I look forward to exploring productive and effective ways to make sure that all my colleagues understand why this is so harmful to me and my community and why it can not be tolerated in the US home or US Senate. . "
And deputy Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Said in a statement that Omar's choice of words was "deeply disappointing and disconcerting," although he also warned that someone was mistakenly painted as follies.
"Although our national leaders obviously have the freedom to debate the relative influence of a particular organization on the policy process of our country, or the factors that make our system of governance imperfect, there is an expectation of leaders – especially those with proven commitment to the cause of justice and equality – that they would be extremely careful not to enter into the waters of anti-Semitism or any other form of prejudice or hatred, "Nadler said." Rep. Omar has taken this test of leadership with this comments. & # 39;
But Nadler said he was also concerned about "concerted right tactics aimed at promoting their agenda by distracting and dividing those who are committed to equality and social justice." These tactics have painted some unfairly and we have to arm ourselves against this. "
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. mentioned Omar's remarks, however, "absolutely outrageous."
"No. 1, Israel is strategically our most important ally," King told Fox News. "They are indispensable for our foreign policy in the Middle East." That is number 1. Nr. 2, it is immoral to suggest that members of the congress are somehow paid by the Jews, by AIPAC. bias, which has plagued the world for too long. "