After facing a firestorm of criticism from her own party, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) apologized for comments many saw as an anti-Semitic slur — but then appeared to double down in a further comment on the situation.
Rep. Omar, who is Muslim, criticized what she saw as oversized influence on American politics from AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbying group, and even referenced them “buying politicians.”
After numerous condemnations from both sides of the aisle, Omar appeared to relent in a statement of apology posted to her Twitter account.
“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar tweeted. “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. This is why i unequivocally apologize.”
“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,” she added.
But in a follow up tweet, Rep. Omar reposted a story from a former staffer of a Democratic campaign in Ohio that supported the notion that the pro-Jewish lobby was buying off politicians.
“[Ady Barkan] your courage can’t be matched,” Omar tweeted, “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.”
Barkan claimed that the campaign he worked on was desperate for donations when a representative of the Cincinnati AIPAC group offered to give the maximum donation to their campaign in exchange for the politician’s promise to support two bills that were in the interests of Israel.
“AIPAC is a central pillar of the occupation,” he said, referring to Israel. “Without Congressional support, the Likud/anti-Palestine/pro-occupation project would be radically undermined.”
“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,” he added, “don’t fall for their bulls**t. 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.”
Omar appeared to enthusiastically approve of Barkan’s condemnation of AIPAC and attempt to support the anti-Semitic trope that Jews were buying politicians.
Here’s the latest from the anti-Semitic controversy:
Rep. Omar targets pro-Israel group, gets bipartisan backlash