Rep. Ilhan Omar Apologizes For Tweet Condemned As Anti-Semitic After Democratic Backlash

Freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar issued an apology Monday for a tweet condemned by some as anti-Semitic after getting pressure from both political parties.

Omar, who represents the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota, which covers the greater Minneapolis area, posted to Twitter: "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. My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. … That is why I unequivocally apologize."

On Sunday, Omar tweeted that she believed American politicians were being paid by the Israeli lobbyist, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to hold a pro-Israel stance.

The American Jewish Committee responded to Omar, saying, "Suggesting that a Jewish organization is buying off American politicians is both demonstrably false and stunningly anti-Semitic. American politicians are pro-Israel because Americans are."

Democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler from New York, who's chairman of the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement that Omar "failed" a test of leadership with her comments.

"While of course our nation's leaders are free to debate the relative influence of a particular organization on our country's policy-making process, or the factors that make our system of governance imperfect, there is an expectation of leaders – particularly those with a demonstrated commitment to the cause of justice and equality – that they would be extremely careful not to tread into the waters of anti-Semitism or any other form of prejudice or hate. Rep. Omar failed that test of leadership with these comments," Nadler wrote.

Omar, a Muslim who was born in Somalia and has become a name-brand Democratic representative after her election last year, didn't stop with her insinuation that politicians were being paid to support Israel.

When journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept sent this Haaretz story link through Twitter, that included information that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened punishment against Omar and fellow Rep. Rashida Tlaib for their continued public criticisms of Israel. To which Omar retweeted, saying "It's all about the Benjamins baby."

Benjamins is a reference to a $100 bill, in which Benjamin Franklin's portrait is on the front.

Democratic leadership, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James Clyburn, Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján, Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark, issued a joint statement to condemn Omar's remarks and calling out any anti-Semitic remarks.

"Anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned whenever it is encountered, without exception," the Democrats said. "Legitimate criticism of Israel's policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share. But Congresswoman Omar's use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel's supporters is deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments."

Pelosi said she met with Omar, and that they agreed "we must use this moment to move forward as we reject anti-Semitism in all forms."

Rep. Ilhan Omar Apologizes For Tweet Condemned As Anti-Semitic After Democratic Backlash | U.S.