Freshman Democrat lawmaker Ilhan Omar triggered an earthquake in Washington that split the political aisle when she touched the forbidden third rail, which is any discussion of the pro-Israeli lobby’s influence on the US political system.
During a bookstore event hosted by Busboys and Poets, Omar told the assembled guests: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. I want to ask why it is okay for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby that is influencing policy.”
Judging how she prefaced the remark, with a lengthy discussion about “the stories of Palestinians” and how she was being regularly accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ to end all debate on the decades-old standoff, it was clear what lobbying group Omar was referring to.
It was the second time in as many weeks that Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslims to serve in Congress, was accused of allegedly espousing anti-Semitic comments.
In early February, Omar had responded to a tweet by journalist Glenn Greenwald who said it was “stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”
Omar responded, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” followed by a musical emoji.
When pushed by another Twitter user to say who she thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, Omar responded simply, “AIPAC!”
In fact, Omar was wrong. AIPAC does not raise funds for candidates. But its members do, with the group’s powerful endorsement.
On March 3, Omar tweeted to her fellow Congresswoman, Nita Lowey, that she should “not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee…”
Such complaints have been heard before.
In 2014, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney told Press TV that her campaign funding suddenly went “kaput” after she refused to sign a “pledge of allegiance” to Israel while she was in office.
“I refused to toe the line on US policy for Israel,” she said.