Unbelievably, within hours of issuing an “apology” for anti-Semitic tweets yesterday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) retweeted and praised a twitter thread by progressive activist Ady Barkan in which he criticizes the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and characterizes Pelosi’s request for Omar’s apology earlier in the day as “her failure.”
In the thread, Barkan related his experience with AIPAC while working as a campaign staffer in 2006 for a long-shot candidate in Ohio. He said AIPAC had offered to make a campaign donation in exchange for the candidate’s support on an Iran sanctions bill and another he could not recall. Desperate for cash, they took the donation and issued a statement voicing their support for these initiatives. (A copy of Barkan’s full thread appears at the end of this post.)
(Note to Barkan: AIPAC does not make campaign contributions.)
He discredits AIPAC, calls the organization “the central pillar of the occupation” and states that “money is the lubricant that makes the whole machine run.” He also makes the preposterous claim that both Omar and activist Linda Sarsour are allies of the Jews.
Merely hours after expressing her “unequivocal” apology, Omar retweeted Barkan’s thread and added the following comment. “@AdyBarkan your courage can’t be matched. I am often in tears thinking about how you won’t be with us in this fight and how I am going to miss your presence and courage. In solidarity my friend, in solidarity.”
(It has been reported that Ady Barkan is dying of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS.)
.@AdyBarkan your courage can’t be matched. I am often in tears thinking about how you won’t be with us in this fight and how I am going to miss your presence and courage. In solidarity my friend, in solidarity ✊🏽 https://t.co/wt5YAHA2rR
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
Unconcerned after receiving a reprimand from Speaker Pelosi and condemnation from other Democratic House leaders, she engaged in the same behavior.
It concerns me that Omar is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Unfortunately, House Democrats have made the decision to allow her to retain her committee seats.”
Roll Call reports:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he takes Omar at her word that she didn’t intend to be anti-Semitic when she said lawmakers took pro-Israel stances because of political contributions from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [sic].
Omar has “unequivocally” apologized for the comments — after Democratic leaders called on her to do so — saying she did not mean offense or to invoke an anti-Semitic trope about Jewish money. At the same time, the Minnesota Democrat affirmed her opposition to lobbyists like AIPAC being involved in politics.
Note to Steny Hoyer: She just spit in your face.
Here is Ady Barkan’s full twitter thread:
A thread on
@IlhanMN, anti-semitism, and my personal experience with @AIPAC’s money. In 2006, I was the first real staffer on a long-shot Democratic Congressional race in deep red Ohio. My boss was a hippie doctor with a lefty perspective on international affairs… (Continued)
…very skeptical of military force, opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, etc. A month after winning the Dem primary, we were struggling to gain attention or money. Nobody gave us a snowball’s chance to win. But one political action org proactively reached out to us.
It wasn’t Emily’s List, although we were fiercely prochoice. Wasn’t a doctor’s lobby or an enviro or labor org. It was AIPAC. A local Dem volunteer leader of the Cincinnati AIPAC group came over and said they would like to donate the PAC max (I believe $5000) and would also…
…like to see Vic take a public stance on two issues that, I thought, were relatively obscure: an Iran sanctions bill and something else I can’t recall, perhaps about continuing arms sales to Israel. Suffice to say, these were not hot button issues in the race.
Vic and I both thought of ourselves as pro-peace, not pro-Israel. (Note: I am an Israeli citizen, have many family there, have lived there & visited perhaps 20 times). We both felt a bit icky about doing it, because it was too hawkish and too quid pro quo…
but we were desperate for cash and so we put online a statement about how Vic supported a two-state peace agreement and AIPAC’s two pet issues of the cycle. It was definitely about the Benjamins. Never would have done it otherwise. AIPAC’s power is also about great organizing…
…(they sent a local Dem volunteer emissary) and about diligence (they paid attention to us before anyone else and were happy to donate to both us and the pro-Likud incumbent). But money is the lubricant that makes the whole machine run.
@IlhanMN is right to point this out.
AIPAC is a central pillar of the occupation. Without Congressional support, the Likud/anti-Palestine/pro-occupation project would be radically undermined. AIPAC is the anchor of that support, and its money and Sheldon Adelson’s money are indispensable to the work.
We have a growing anti-semitism problem in America.
@IlhanMN is not part of it. @lindasrsour is not part of it. They are allies of mine and of Jews across this country who are fighting for peace, racial justice, immigrants’ rights, and the defeat of fascism.
I am deeply disappointed in
@SpeakerPelosi for her failure today. When AIPAC and its army try to silence criticism of the immoral, illegal, inhumane occupation by screaming about anti-semitism and claiming that nobody may ever talk about how the Israel lobby…
…uses money to build power, don’t fall for their bullshit. They are doing terrible things in the name of Jews and of Israel, and it behooves the American Jewish community to resist them, resist their agenda, stand up for Free Speech, and stand up for justice.