Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) just can’t seem to stop spewing anti-Semitist remarks. In response to a tweet from liberal journalist Glenn Greenwald in which he criticized US support of Israel, Omar tweeted “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” This was a reference to a 1997 rap song by Puff Daddy.
It's all about the Benjamins baby 🎶 https://t.co/KatcXJnZLV
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 10, 2019
Ilhan’s tweet sparked blowback from both sides of the aisle. First, she was called out by The Forward’s Batya Ungar-Sargon who tweeted “Would love to know who @IlhanMN thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, though I think I can guess. Bad form, Congresswoman. That’s the second anti-Semitic trope you’ve tweeted.”
Omar replied, “AIPAC!” AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a “lobby group that does not donate to politicians, which regularly has been accused by progressives of agitating for a conflict with Iran.”
AIPAC responded with a tweet of their own. “We are proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the US-Israel relationship. Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests. We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work.”
Unbar-Sargon called on Omar to “learn how to talk about Jews in a non-anti-Semitic way.”
At this point, Chelsea Clinton whose husband, Marc Mezvinsky, is Jewish, joined the fray. She tweeted: “Co-signed as an American. We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.”
Activist Melissa Byrne then chimed in to express her disappointment over Clinton’s remarks. She tweeted: “Disappointed @ChelseaClinton is piling on @IlhanMN instead of reaching out to her. She is a new MoC and figuring out how to navigate calling out AIPAC (which is a terrible organization aligned with Bibi) and learning that a lot of folks will assume the worst.”
Clinton reply: “Hi Melissa – I will reach out to her tomorrow. I also think we have to call out anti-Semitic language and tropes on all sides, particularly in our elected officials and particularly now.” Why would she promise to reach out to Omar?
Byrne wasn’t the only voice from the left to criticize Clinton. Activist #AlexandrNJ chided her: “Chelsea, try to find some time to raise your child instead of doing this. Or just leave. Maybe they’ll be better off, if your Twitter presence is any indication of how good a parent you’d be.”
Her reply: “Hi Alexandr – my children are thankfully asleep and have been for hours. I think we always have to call out anti-Semitic language and tropes. I feel that way particularly as a parent. Hope you have a good night.”
Upon reading Clinton’s promise to reach out to her tomorrow, Omar tweeted: “Chelsea – I would be happy to talk. We must call out smears from the GOP and their allies. And I believe we can do that without criticizing people for their faith. I look forward to building an inclusive movement for justice with you.”
What a hypocritical statement.
Omar’s original tweet, as you would expect, was not received well by those on the right either. Several Republicans jumped into the ring to express their disapproval.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “Anti-Semitic tropes have no place in the halls of Congress. It is dangerous for Democrat leadership to stay silent on this reckless language.”
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley tweeted: “To see this at the UN was a fight every day. This CANNOT be tolerated in our own Congress by anyone of either party. In a time of increased anti semitism, we all must be held to account. No excuses.”
Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Matt Brooks called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to speak out against this. “@SpeakerPelosi @LeaderHoyer what do you have to say about this. Leader Hoyer – you’ve led many AIPAC trips to Israel. Will you speak out against this??”
It’s entirely unjust how Omar, along with her colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), are allowed to continue spouting anti-Semitic remarks without consequence. The free speech defense works only to a point, but these women have crossed the line into hate speech too many times.
I suppose we can take a certain amount of satisfaction from the circus which is now unfolding in Virginia. Democrats are well aware of the standards to which they hold Republicans, but when
one three of their own fall short, they allow a little more slack. It’s entertaining to watch.
When are we going to start holding Democrats to the same standards they hold us?