Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Smear campaign launched against Rep. Omar upon criticism of Israel, AIPAC

Newly-elected US lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib made their debut in the House of Representatives openly declaring their support for a boycott of Israel Omar Ilhan in anti-Semitism row for saying AIPAC money behind Republican support for Israel
Andrew Cummings | 13 February, 2019, 01:30

On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on Omar to apologize, saying that "her use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel's supporters is deeply offensive". She called out McCarthy for tweeting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

The exchanges triggered an uproar, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi castigating Omar and demanding an "immediate" apology for using "anti-Semitic tropes" in her tweet, and several Democrats and Republicans assailing their colleague for her language.

The Minnesota Democrat said she had no intention of offending anyone, including Jewish Americans, when she insinuated that lobbyists were paying lawmakers to support Israel.

On Air Force One flying to a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, Trump said that Omar had made "a bad statement" and that he didn't find her apology to be adequate.

"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 about my identity", Omar tweeted. Because while she apologized and, evidently, rejoined the civilized world in accepting that attacking Jews is bad, she made great strides in defining the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as the prime example of what's wrong with Washington, delegitimizing in the process the very right of pro-Israel US Jews to participate in the political process.

In Omar's apology, which she prefaced by saying she's "listening and learning, but standing strong", she reiterated her criticism of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, an influential pro-Israel lobbying group. None of the Democratic presidential hopefuls weighed in publicly as their party's House leaders chastised Omar. The freshman congresswoman defended anti-Israeli statements, such as ones invoking Allah to expose Israel's "evil doings", and she has come out in favor of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to punish the nation-state of Israel by economically depriving the country for its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

"Thank you for the apology and for hearing the voices of Jewish Americans", tweeted Congressman Josh Gottheimer.

People defending her left yellow notes of support on Omar's office nameplate on Capitol Hill.

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AIPAC denied the assertion, and Democrats said they were shocked.

Omar was also on the record implying that Israel is not a democracy and gave an interview to a host that called Israel "Jewish ISIS".

AIPAC is a nonprofit organization that works to influence United States policy toward Israel.

Omar was responding to a tweet from Glenn Greenwald, a journalist who argued on Twitter that the Republicans' move to equate Omar and Tlaib's criticism of Israel to the embrace of white supremacist rhetoric by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, "is obscene".

AIPAC has formidable financial clout, and it prides itself on its influence in USA politics.

Meanwhile, Omar isn't the only Muslim lawmaker to make anti-Semitic remarks.

Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said Omar's words only serve to fuel bigotry. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sherrod Brown of OH - all opposed it.

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