Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is coming to the defense of Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, after she was widely reprimanded last week for implying that the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC compensated lawmakers in exchange for supporting the Jewish state.
According to the National Review, Sunday, while speaking at the NOI’s annual Saviours’ Day celebration at Chicago’s United Center, Farrakhan condemned those who pressured Omar to apologize for her statements.
“Sweetheart, don’t do that,” the controversial religious leader said, addressing Omar. “Pardon me for calling you sweetheart, but you do have a sweet heart. You sure are using it to shake the government up, but you have nothing to apologize for.”
On Feb. 10, Omar tweeted that congressional support of Israel was “all about the Benjamins, baby,” which is a a reference to the 1997 Diddy song.
Then when Batya Ungar-Sargon, who is the opinion editor of The Forward newspaper, asked Omar who she believed “is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel,” the congresswoman answered: “AIPAC!”
Omar’s tweets sparked outrage on both sides of the aisle and President Trump called on her to “resign from Congress or certainly resign from the [House] foreign affairs committee.” She apologized soon after:
Listening and learning, but standing strong 💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/7TSroSf8h1
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
The chairman of the foreign affairs committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., also said it was “shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money,'” and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., spoke up as well stating the comments were “deeply disappointing and disturbing.”
While lawmakers may be dismissed by Omar’s tweets, on Sunday Farrakhan echoed her original sentiments, insisting that “Israel and AIPAC pays off senators and congressmen to do their bidding, so [Omar is] not lying. So if you’re not lying, stop laying down. You were sent there by the people to shake up that corrupt House. Shake it up!”