Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly rebuked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) while speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington via satellite on Tuesday, exclaiming, “From this Benjamin: It’s not about the Benjamins!”
Omar, who did not attend the conference, had accused the pro-Israeli lobby of paying politicians to support Israel. Her tweet in February, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” was seen as an anti-Semitic trope about Jews using money to control governments. She later apologized for what she said.
“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,” the freshman lawmaker said in a statement. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole.”
Omar on Tuesday snapped back at Netanyahu’s remark in a Twitter post that attempted to delegitimize him by highlighting the corruption charges he’s expected to face. Those looming charges ― on bribery and breach of trust involving his alleged acceptance of gifts from billionaires ― come as he competes for re-election next month.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also appeared to take a shot at Omar at the AIPAC conference, telling the audience on Monday: “When someone suggests that money drives support for Israel, we must call it out.”
“You can be a Jew and care about Israel and it doesn’t make you any less of an American. You can be a Jew and lobby for Israel and it doesn’t make you any less of an American,” he said.
Schumer also called out President Donald Trump’s characterization of those who attended a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in 2017.
“When someone looks at a neo-Nazi rally and sees some ‘very fine people’ among its company, we must call it out,” he said.