[The full version of this article appears on Sara A. Carter]
Look away for a few minutes and you miss the latest jabs. In one corner is Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, spouting and repeating anti-Semitic and anti-Israel smears.
In another corner are old-guard Democrats whose younger party members are proudly waving around their anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bona fides, potentially hurting the party with historically stalwart supporters.
In still another corner there are Omar’s supporters.
They claim Omar is the victim of racism, sexism and whatever-other-isms are available. Many of Omar’s supporters demand to know why she should be forced to apologize for saying wealthy Jews use their influence to bribe congressional members.
In the final corner are the Republicans, gleeful that someone else is finally on the hot seat, accused of spouting bigotry in public.
HOUSE LEADERSHIP DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM OMAR FOR ANTISEMITISM
On Monday afternoon the Democratic House leadership called out Omar for writing that the American Public Affairs Committee uses its “Benjamins” (i.e. hundred dollar bills) to coerce members to support Israel.
AIPAC is not actually a PAC at all, so it doesn’t donate any money directly to candidates; and much of the money its biggest supporters donate goes to Democrats.
In the public reprimand issued by Democratic House leadership, Omar was instructed to “immediately apologize” for stepping beyond the bounds of legitimate criticism and descending into “anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations” about congressional supporters of Israel.
OMAR ISSUES APOLOGY FOR MONEY CLAIM, BUT CASTIGATES LOBBYING GROUPS
Listening and learning, but standing strong ?? pic.twitter.com/7TSroSf8h1
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
“My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. 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,” said Omar. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”
But Omar’s two-paragraph statement ended with a sharp pivot. Criticized for wrongly suggesting AIPAC gives money directly to political candidates, Omar ends her apology by targeting the influence lobbyists have with politicians.
“At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.“
But there’s more.
While Omar, falsely, criticized a Jewish lobbying organization, AIPAC, for giving money directly to political candidates, she apparently has no trouble accepting money from political action committees.
OMAR RECEIVED TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FROM PACS AND ALSO FROM LOBBYISTS
One PAC from which Omar received thousands of dollars in 2018 is the Council on American Islamic Relations. CAIR was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the 2009 Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism-financing trial in American history.
And CAIR not only has a PAC, it is a lobbying organization. On Jan.10, 2019, CAIR hosted the Community Congressional Reception at which Omar spoke.
In all, Omar received tens of thousands of dollars from lobbying groups. None of her money came from AIPAC or the NRA or the fossil fuel industry; That must be a coincidence.
Jennie Taer contributed to this report