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Nikki Haley Responds to Ilhan Omar's Anti-Semitic Comment: This Cannot Be Tolerated in Congress

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Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley contended that Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s sentiments regarding Israel “cannot be tolerated.”

In a tweet on Sunday, Omar indicated that the reason Israel enjoys such support in Congress is because lawmakers are being paid off by Jewish interests.

“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” the freshman congresswoman from Minnesota tweeted in response to a post by columnist Glenn Greenwald in which he wrote, “It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”

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Omar was apparently referencing rapper Puff Daddy’s 1997 single “It’s All About the Benjamins.” Benjamin Franklin’s face appears on the front of $100 bills.

In his op-ed included in the tweet, Greenwald criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s pledge to take action against both Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan for their anti-Semitic comments and support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel.

In January, Tlaib accused senators of forgetting what “country they represent” by supporting federal legislation that protects state and local governments that choose not to purchase from companies that boycott Israel.

Do you think Rep. Omar should apologize for her anti-Semitic sentiments?

In response to Omar’s “Benjamins” tweet, columnist Batya Ungar-Sargon, with the American Jewish publication “Forward,” wrote: “Would love to know who @IlhanMN thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, though I think I can guess. Bad form, Congresswoman. That’s the second anti-Semitic trope you’ve tweeted.”

Omar answered, “AIPAC!” referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the most influential pro-Israel advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

Haley then replied to Omar, “To see this at the UN was a fight every day. This CANNOT be tolerated in our own Congress by anyone of either party. In a time of increased anti semitism, we all must be held to account. No excuses.”

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The human rights group UN Watch reported that the United Nations General Assembly passed 21 resolutions targeting Israel in 2018, versus six regarding the rest of the world, which included one each relating to North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Myanmar. There was also a resolution singling out the U.S. for its economic sanctions against Cuba.

There were no resolutions regarding human rights abuses in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, or Turkey, to name a few omitted.

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas also condemned Omar for her anti-Semitic tweet, asking, “Why is a Member of Congress launching anti-Semitic slurs on Twitter? Caricaturing support for Israel as purchased by Jewish $$ — ‘about the Benjamins’ — is an old slander. Do other Dems agree? Will media ask them? As more Dems support BDS, anti-Semitism becoming far too common.”

Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming — a member of the GOP House leadership team — called for Omar to immediately be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in light of her clear anti-Semitic sentiments.

Democratic chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, who is Jewish American, joined with Republicans and some of his Democratic colleagues in finding Omar’s comments offensive.

“Anti-Semitism in any form is unacceptable, and it’s shocking to hear a member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money,’” Engel said in a statement on Monday.

“I fully expect that when we disagree on the Foreign Affairs Committee, we will debate policy on the merits and never question members’ motives or resort to personal attacks,” he added. “Criticism of American policy toward any country is fair game, but this must be done on policy grounds.”

Jewish Democratic Reps. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Elaine Luria of Virginia implored House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to denounce and take action to stop the anti-Semitic rhetoric among their party members in a joint letter on Monday, The Washington Post reported.

“As Jewish Members of Congress, we are deeply alarmed by recent rhetoric from certain members within our Caucus, including just last night, that has disparaged us and called into question our loyalty to our nation,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We urge you to join us in calling on each member of our Caucus to unite against anti-Semitism and hateful tropes and stereotypes.”

Pelosi spoke with Omar on Monday and released a joint statement with House Democratic leaders afterward condemning her sentiments.

“Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders. “We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”

Omar apologized on Monday afternoon in a statement, saying, “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,” she continued. “We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

“At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry,” Omar concluded. “It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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