Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives called on Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota to apologize for what they described as her “anti-Semitic comments.”
“Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive,” Pelosi and the other leaders said in a statement. “We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”
“As Democrats and as Americans, the entire Congress must be fully engaged in denouncing and rejecting all forms of hatred, racism, prejudice and discrimination wherever they are encountered,” the statement concluded.
In response to a tweet on Sunday asking why politicians defend Israel, Omar responded, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” quoting rap lyrics referring to $100 bills.
In a later message in response to criticism for Forward opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon, Omar said that AIPAC was paying politicians to be pro-Israel.
AIPAC! https://t.co/UdzaFUEfrh— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
National Jewish organizations and several Jewish members of Congress criticized Omar’s remarks, with many saying that they promoted anti-Semitic tropes of Jews using money to control the government. Two Jewish representatives, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Elaine Luria of Virginia, had been lobbying their Jewish colleagues to sign an open letter to Pelosi and other leaders to “join us in calling on each member of our Caucus to unite against anti-Semitism and hateful tropes and stereotypes.”
Pelosi wrote in a tweet accompanying her statement that she had talked to Omar and the two had “agreed that we must use this moment to move forward as we reject anti-Semitism in all forms.”