Rep. Omar apologizes for tweets on AIPAC's influence

Pelosi said she spoke with Omar they had "agreed that we must use this moment to move forward as we reject anti-Semitism in all forms".

Omar has previously expressed regret over a 2012 tweet in which she claimed Israel was "hypnotizing" the world.

She was slammed on Twitter by Jewish organizations, politicians, and Chelsea Clinton, who tweeted that "we have to call out anti-Semitic language and tropes on all sides, particularly in our elected officials and particularly now".

Earlier Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a joint statement from Democratic House leadership condemning Omar's tweets and demanding she apologize. 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.

I very recently defended Omar and her fellow Muslim representative, Rashida Tlaib, against McCarthy's attacks, but I can not countenance her attribution of pro-Israeli attitudes, within and beyond the Republican Party, to the "Jewish lobby", however it's defined.

Omar responded to that by saying "AIPAC", referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful pro-Israel advocacy group.

Omar on Monday stood by her criticism of the "problematic role of lobbyists in our politics", lumping in AIPAC with the pro-gun National Rifle Association and oil companies.

Republicans demanded that Omar be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, arguing that she should not be part of a panel which considers US foreign policy in the Mideast. They are the first Muslim women to serve in Congress and both have reported being harassed.

But the tweet was swiftly condemned by high-profile figures on both sides of the aisle, including a former US ambassador to Israel and Chelsea Clinton, whose husband is Jewish.

Shapiro said that some held off on criticizing Omar because they wanted to work with her. 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".

A spokesman for Omar has not responded to NPR's request for comment on the letter. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Elaine Luria of Virginia, does not name lawmakers but it is clearly a reference to freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who is the target of recent criticism on the left and right for comments seen as both overt and subtly anti-Semitic.

"As I have said, as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I will ensure support for Israel remains strong and bipartisan and I will shine a light on the evil of anti-Semitism and the danger it poses".

Several Democrats and Republicans spoke out to say Omar's prejudicial accusations were wrong about why lawmakers support Israel, arguing that the support is based on shared values and strategic interests.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler named Omar in his statement and said she had failed a test of leadership.

"When someone uses hateful and offensive tropes and words against people of any faith, I will not be silent", he wrote, adding: "Implying that Americans support Israel because of money alone is offensive enough".

Update (02/11/10, 3 p.m. ET): This story was updated to include a statement from Representative Ilhan Omar.


Popular

CONNECT