Rep. Omar apologizes after critics call ‘Benjamins’ comment anti-Semitic

After a Twitter post about AIPAC was criticized as anti-semitic, the Minnesota congresswoman issued an apology, saying she did not mean to offend anyone

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Outcry from Jewish leaders and Democratic leaders in Congress prompted U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, to apologize for a tweet in which he implied that cash is the engine behind U.S. support for Israel.

Omar, who is Muslim-American, issued an apology Monday on Twitter.

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The controversy first erupted on Sunday, when a journalist tweeted that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, had threatened punishment for Omar and House colleague Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim-American and a Democrat from Michigan, for their stances against Israel. In response, Omar tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

The backlash was swift, with multiple people labeling the tweet from Omar, a Muslim-American, to be anti-Semitic and demanding an apology.

“Such rhetoric puts our community in danger, should have no place in our politics, and undermines efforts to achieve Middle East peace,” Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

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The critics included high-level representatives within Omar’s own party, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and others. Chelsea Clinton tweeted that she would reach out to Omar, saying “I … think we have to call out anti-Semitic language and tropes on all sides, particularly in our elected officials and particularly now.”

To this, Omar replied via Twitter:

“I would be happy to talk. We must call out smears from the GOP and their allies. And I believe we can do that without criticizing people for their faith.”

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