(March 26, 2019 / JNS) Congressional leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman indirectly rebuked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Tuesday for accusing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last month of paying members of Congress to support the Jewish state.
“From this Benjamin, it’s not about the Benjamins!” Netanyahu told the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., speaking by live video from Israel.
“It’s because they share our values,” he added. “It’s because America and Israel share a love of freedom and democracy.”
In response, Omar tweeted: “This from a man facing indictments for bribery and other crimes in three separate public corruption affairs. Next!”
????This from a man facing indictments for bribery and other crimes in three separate public corruption affairs.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 26, 2019
Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced last month that Netanyahu will be indicted in all three ongoing corruption cases against him.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who spoke after Netanyahu, remarked that the anti-Semitism that had been on the political fringes has alarmingly become mainstream.
“Sadly, they’ve recently received new prominence, having been repeated and retweeted by a sitting member of Congress,” he said. “My friends, your advocacy is not a conspiracy. Your passion is nothing to apologize for. It is the essence of our democracy.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted that “in our democratic society, we should welcome legitimate debate on how to best honor our values and advance our priorities – without questioning loyalty or patriotism,” she said. “To be anti-Semitic is to be anti-American.”
She also condemned the anti-Israel BDS movement, which Omar supports.
Omar responded to Pelosi following a House Democratic caucus meeting on Tuesday: “A condemnation for people that want to exercise their First Amendment rights is beneath any leader, and I hope that we find a better use of language when we are trying to speak as members of Congress that are sworn to protect the Constitution.”