Twitter may be a sewer run by hypocritical hacks, but occasionally it performs the public service of mask removal. Last night, frosh House Democrat Ilhan Omar from right here in Minnesota suggested that Republican support for Israel originates in money from the Joooooooos. Ironically, Omar was responding to a rebuke by Glenn Greenwald to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who had called out Omar for earlier anti-Semitism:
On Sunday night, Omar was responding to a tweet from prominent journalist Glenn Greenwald, who said, “Equating [Omar and Tlaib’s] criticism of Israel to Steve King’s long defense of white supremacy is obscene (McCarthy said it’s worse). In the US, we’re allowed to criticize our own government: certainly foreign governments. The GOP House Leader’s priorities are warped.”
In response to Greewald’s post, Omar tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” followed by a music emoji, which suggested that money was calling the tune for McCarthy.
When asked to explain where the money she was referring to came from, Omar tweeted: “AIPAC.”
An Omar spokesman said the tweets “speak for themselves.”
Er, they do indeed, and no one missed the point, either. The Washington Post certainly noticed it:
Democrats including Chelsea Clinton and Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) and Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), and Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, were among those to condemn Omar’s comments as anti-Semitic. Rep Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) called for her removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The American Jewish Committee demanded an apology, calling her suggestion that AIPAC is paying American politicians for their support “demonstrably false and stunningly anti-Semitic.” The organization linked to a 2018 Gallup poll finding that 64 percent of Americans sympathize with the Israelis over the Palestinians, saying, “American politicians are pro-Israel because Americans are.”
“Please learn how to talk about Jews in a non-anti-Semitic way. Sincerely, American Jews,” Ungar-Sargon wrote back to Omar, a statement that Clinton said she seconded.
Chelsea Clinton even weighed in on Omar’s conspiracy theorizing:
Co-signed as an American. We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 11, 2019
Rose, also a first-term House Democrat, issued a sharp rebuke of his own to Omar:
Congresswoman Omar’s statements are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself. pic.twitter.com/u3f2JHESFA
— Max Rose (@MaxRose4NY) February 11, 2019
CNN’s State of the Union host Jake Tapper rebuked both Omar and Greenwald for mistaking McCarthy’s point in the first place:
Just to note regarding this tweet from Rep Omar suggesting that support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins” — GOP Leader McCarthy’s comments were focused not on policy differences but on what he sees as anti-Semitic rhetoric from Reps. Omar and Tlaib https://t.co/QgmlXVGbAO https://t.co/hbdp743iNc
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 11, 2019
The House took action against King’s comments by passing a resolution of disapproval generally condemning white supremacy. King voted for the resolution, which only made passing reference to his comments.
Republicans, led by New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, have already drafted a similar resolution to rebuke Tlaib and Omar. It references some of their remarks, and expresses the sense of the House that the body “rejects anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred in the United States and around the world.”
McCarthy’s action could be to file that or a similar measure as a privileged resolution, which would trigger a two-day time clock in which the House must hold a vote on it. Democrats could move to table a privileged resolution, however, as a way to prevent a straight up or down vote.
The AIPAC comment doesn’t make any sense at all, by the way, even though the Washington Post attempts to contextualize it. Yes, their members donate to candidates directly, but (a) there’s no data to suggest that it’s only going to Republicans, and (b) AIPAC itself doesn’t donate to campaigns at all. Its 501(c)(4) status prevents it from doing so. Omar appears to have tossed out that accusation out of sheer ignorance, which is no surprise to anyone who’s followed her political career so far. And if its members donate heavily to pro-Israel politicians, it’s because they associate together in AIPAC on that basis.
Even at that, though, AIPAC represents a minority of Jewish voters in terms of partisan support, a point overlooked by Omar and the rest of the Jew-gold conspiracy thinkers. Jewish voters overwhelmingly support Democrats at the ballot box. Hillary Clinton got 71% of the Jewish vote in 2016, Barack Obama got 69% in 2012, and so on. Although one does have to wonder just how long that will continue in an age of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Update: The pressure is ramping up on Nancy Pelosi to do something about her growing caucus of anti-Semites, and it’s ramping up from the inside:
Two Jewish House Democrats, alarmed by what they view as anti-Semitic comments from new Muslim colleagues, are urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants to denounce the divisive rhetoric and take action to stop it.
Reps. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Elaine Luria of Virginia are gathering signatures on a letter asking Pelosi (Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and other senior Democrats to confront freshman Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan by “reiterating our rejection of anti-Semitism and our continued support for the State of Israel.”
“As Jewish Members of Congress, we are deeply alarmed by recent rhetoric from certain members within our Caucus, including just last night, that has disparaged us and called into question our loyalty to our nation,” the letter reads, according to a draft viewed by The Washington Post. “We urge you to join us in calling on each member of our Caucus to unite against anti-Semitism and hateful tropes and stereotypes.
While the letter does not name Omar and Tlaib, its intention couldn’t be clearer. In fact, Jewish lawmakers in recent weeks have huddled privately to discuss what they should do about their new colleagues who openly criticize Israel and have made insensitive comments about Jews and Jewish Americans.
Maybe Pelosi should have acted when McCarthy first suggested it.