Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar apologizes for tweets viewed as anti-semitic

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Article By Associated Press

Freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has “unequivocally” apologized for tweets suggesting a powerful pro-Israel interest group paid members of Congress to support Israel.

Earlier Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats had rebuked her for the tweets.

Omar, one of the first Muslims ever elected to Congress, said she had no intention of offending anyone by a tweet over the weekend suggesting that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, was behind the scheme. Another tweet mentioned “the Benjamins,” a reference to $100 bills.

AIPAC denied the assertion, and Democrats said they were shocked.

Omar tweeted Monday afternoon: “I unequivocally apologize.” She thanked her colleagues for educating her on anti-Semitic Jewish tropes. She said the influence of money in politics remains a problem and must be addressed.

"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," she said.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Eliot Engel, said in a statement Monday he finds it “shocking to hear a member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money.’” He said he will emphasize to committee members of both parties that the American-Israeli relationship is important.

Omar’s tweet sparked a bipartisan backlash. Some lawmakers called on Democrats to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee.