Ocasio-Cortez Breaks Silence On Ilhan Omar's Anti-Israel Comments: 'I'm Proud'

Omar Ilhan in anti-Semitism row for saying AIPAC money behind Republican support for Israel

"Unlike this President, Rep. @IlhanMN demonstrated a capacity to acknowledge pain & apologize, use the opportunity to learn abt history of antisemitism, +grow from it while clarifying her stance", Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, later adding: "I'm proud @IlhanMN raised the issue of lobbyist in politics & equally proud of her sensitivity to communities".

The comments received swift condemnation from members of congress on both sides of the aisle, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership. She may as well have said "Rothschild", or "Soros", or "the money changers at the Temple". Omar, a refugee, had grown up hearing about the importance of democracy, and she quickly embraced the American ideals.

Others welcomed Omar's apology, saying right-wing forces level accusations of anti-Semitism to divide the progressive movement.

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"It's all about the Benjamins baby", Omar's tweet read, with musical notes, referring to $100 bills. Connecticut Democratic Rep. Jim Himes highlighted the need to use specific language to ensure that legitimate policy critiques don't come across as bigoted - a point especially salient as anti-Semitic incidents in America rose by 60 percent in 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Being under heavy pressure, Omar later "unequivocally" apologized for tweets suggesting that members of Congress support Israel because they are being paid to do so, which drew bipartisan criticism and a rebuke from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi may face additional pressure to remove Omar from the Foreign Relations Committee, says KC Johnson, a professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of NY, who formerly taught at Tel-Aviv University. She was referencing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington. Which followed a self-congratulatory tweet declaring: "The defiance of Democratic senators and the open criticism from Omar are signs that the fear the lobby instilled is waning as the base of the Democratic Party becomes more supportive of Palestinian rights". "The continuing controversies will make it hard for Omar to enlist the congressional colleagues she'll need to get the work done", the Star Tribune wrote.

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She said the statement came in the context of Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The organization linked to a 2018 Gallup poll finding that 64 percent of Americans sympathize with the Israelis over Palestinians, saying, "American politicians are pro-Israel because Americans are". Women's March organizer Sophie Ellman-Golan accused McCarthy of attacking Omar and Tlaib "in the name of "defending' Jews".

The Minnesota freshman has faced criticism for weeks over her positions on the Jewish state, but it boiled over late Sunday after she reacted to a Republican critic in a tweet. Elaine Luria of Virginia and Max Rose of NY, explicitly denounced her remarks.

Drawing fire from fellow party members, President Donald Trump and many other lawmakers, Omar was accused of "being anti-Semitic" even though she did not utter a single word invoking racism against Jewish people.

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I think the view is, they wait until the results come out, and where there is guilt, you can take action. The killing of Khashoggi did result in an worldwide uproar and criticism of Riyadh.

Omar had initially said she didn't understand why American Jews would be offended by the statement, which critics argued evoked ugly Nazi conspiracies about Jewish people's power to "hypnotize" the world.

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