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Last month, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-MN, tweeted that American political leaders’ support of Israel is “all about the Benjamins.” Then, last week, she made a remark at an event that insinuated pro-Israel lawmakers are under a “political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
A political firestorm erupted.
Some say Rep. Omar’s comments are anti-Semitic, hinging on an age-old conspiracy about Jewish money and influence.
The leading scholar of antisemitism in the U.S. says Rep. Omar’s “foreign allegiance” comments are antisemitic: https://t.co/XnZhGjFbok
— Adam Rubenstein (@RubensteinAdam) March 6, 2019
Some say America’s relationship with Israel is problematic.
If we lived in a sane society, those politicians who promote the Israeli government even as it slaughters Palestinians and cozy up to its lobbyists would be the focus of investigation and condemnation. Instead, they attack the woman, @IlhanMN, who bravely calls it out.
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) March 5, 2019
Some say it’s possible to believe both.
FYI, it’s possible to believe both that AIPAC has a pernicious effect on American politics and that Ilhan Omar’s tweet invoked clear anti-Semitic stereotypes about how Jews buy influence.
— Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn) February 11, 2019
In response to Rep. Omar’s comments, the House passed a sweeping resolution condemning anti-Semitism and discrimination of Muslims. But that agenda was clouded by a debate over the pro-Israel lobby, which has widened a rift in the Democratic party.
Is it possible to speak out against Israel’s policies without disparaging Jewish people? And what happens when people conflate anti-Semitism and criticizing Israel?
Show produced by Avery Kleinman. Text by Kathryn Fink.
- Jeremy Ben-Ami President, J Street; @JeremyBenAmi
- Nihad Awad Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); @NihadAwad
- Nathan Guttman Washington correspondent, Israeli Public TV; @nathanguttman
- Deborah Lipstadt Author, "Antisemitism: Here and Now"; Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, Emory University; @deborahlipstadt
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