Politics

Freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar accused of sending 'anti-Semitic' tweets

Allan Smith

Freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress last fall — is accused of sending a string of "anti-Semitic" tweets regarding the Israeli lobby in the U.S.

Omar, a proponent of the BDS — Boycott, Divest and Sanctions — movement aimed at putting economic and political pressure on Israel over its treatment of Palestinians, first tweeted Sunday night that money was driving U.S. politicians to defend Israel.

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She then tweeted that AIPAC — The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee — was paying politicians to support Israel.

Omar, a Somalian refugee, came under fire from some Democrats.

AIPAC, a non-profit that does not donate directly to candidates but works to promote a staunchly pro-Israel message in Washington, D.C., responded to Omar, that it is "proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the US-Israel relationship."

"Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests," the group's tweet continued. "We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work."

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, tweeted that she would reach out to Omar's office on Monday to discuss "anti-Semitic tropes." Omar tweeted that she would be happy to chat with Clinton.

Omar, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was originally responding in her earliest tweet to criticism from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy over her prior comments regarding Israel. McCarthy and other Republicans have called on Democratic leadership to "take action" regarding Omar and fellow Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, another recently elected Muslim woman, over their criticism of Israel. McCarthy compared it to Republicans having taken action regarding the racist remarks made by Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa.

Speaking on CNN's "New Day" Monday, Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan said he did not view the tweets as anti-Semitic.

"We ought to be careful not to construe that in anything other than a concern about the fact that money has undue influence on political decision-making," he said.

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