Bipartisan Attack On Rep. Omar Highlights Corruption, Influence Of AIPAC

Representative Ilhan OmarLorie Shaull [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN-5th) recently created a stir while tweeting about the corrupting force of money in politics.

The first tweet was in reference to the Hip-Hop hit, All About the Benjamins. As seen when asked to explain her stance she responded with the acronym AIPAC or American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Everyone from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23rd), House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12th), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and even President Donald Trump who went as far as calling for Rep. Omar to resign from the House of Representatives.

Why Some Are Upset

Despite claims of every critic of Rep. Omar being Islamaphobic or anti-Semitic themselves, that isn’t entirely accurate. There have been cases of Jewish Americans coming forward saying the allusion to money, a common trope wrongfully placed on the Jewish community was hurtful.

Rep. Omar would later apologize for that aspect of her tweets but remained strong to the corrupting influence of an organization like AIPAC.

“Was the flippant way in which she phrased her tweets a problem? Did it offend a significant chunk of liberal U.S. Jewish opinion? Did it perhaps unwittingly play into anti-Semitic tropes about rich Jews controlling the world? Yes, yes, and yes — as she herself has since admitted and “unequivocally” apologized for. But was she wrong to note the power of the pro-Israel lobby, to point a finger at AIPAC, to highlight — in her apology — “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry”? No, no, and no.” Mehdi Hasan of the Intercept explained on Tuesday.

President Trump’s Hypocrisy

“You had some very bad people in that group,” Trump said soon after Heather Heyer was murdered while counter protesting during the 2017 Unite The Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. “But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” he continued to describe those who were chanting “Jews will not replace us,” and the popular “blood and soil” Nazi chant, just several days prior.

President Trump did not condemn the alt-right, the neo-Nazi’s anti-Semitic chant, nor their bigoted and violent political ideology immediately. It would take the President two days and only after intense political pressure to denounce white supremacy and racism in general. However, according to famed journalist Bob Woodward, Trump would later say his condemnation of the Charlottesville white supremacists was “the biggest f—ing mistake” he ever made.

Inside AIPAC And Corruption

Rep. Omar was correct on her assessment about AIPAC and the influence of money in politics. An October 2017 article from Huffington Post reads:

AIPAC uses the same tactics as the NRA to ensure that the United States never deviates from support for whatever policy the Israeli government is pushing at the moment. These days those policies are: undermining President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, suppressing efforts by Americans to use selective boycotts to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, and, as always, to prevent any pressure on Israel to advance peace with the Palestinians despite the fact that the United States provides more aid to Israel than to any other country.

“I saw all of AIPAC’s tactics first hand. I also worked at AIPAC itself where, in the very office in which I sat, I watched my colleagues working hard and effectively to end the careers of politicians who deviated from the AIPAC line. (In the interests of honesty I should admit that I had no problems with AIPAC when I worked there. It was only years later, while working on Capitol Hill, that I came to understand that the policy of undeviating support for the Israeli government was not in American interests and that AIPAC sustained that support through rather scary intimidation),” continued author MJ Rosenberg who worked on Capitol Hill for over twenty years.

One of Rosenberg’s more damning points against AIPAC concerns the Carden bill, “The latest evidence of that slavishness [to AIPAC] comes in the form of growing support among Democrats in both Houses for legislation sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and co-sponsored by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, commonly known as BDS. Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.”

The Israeli lobby also supports far-right wing stances and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who pushed the Nation-State Law which has been widely condemned by scholars around the world. The Electronic Intifada was able to obtain The Lobby – USA, which was censored by Qatar after pressure to not release it.

The Electronic Intifada details some of the film’s contents, “The film also reveals that US-based groups coordinate their efforts directly with the Israeli government, particularly its Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Run by a former military intelligence officer, the ministry is in charge of Israel’s global campaign of covert sabotage targeting the BDS movement.”

“AIPAC is a significant player in terms of lobbying, accounting for the vast majority of lobbying spending by pro-Israel groups, spending more than $3.5 million in 2018. The organization was staunchly opposed to the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2015, lobbied extensively against it and supported the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the agreement,” Open Secrets detailed on their website shortly after Rep. Omar’s comments. “Other pro-Israel groups are also prominent and active political spending forces each cycle. The 2018 midterms saw groups in the movement contribute more than $14.8 million, the highest total for them in a midterm since 1990. Contributions went predominantly towards Democrats who received 63 percent. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) received by far the most money from pro-Israel groups in 2018 with $546,507,” they would continue.

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About the Author

Walter Yeates
Walter Yeates is a journalist who has covered a wide range of topics. In December 2016 he embedded with the First People's and Military Veterans at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Walter is also known for his articles speaking about the Modern Day Gentleman and helping young boys and men know the stereotypes around masculinity should not control their lives. He covers politics and technology for ValueWalk while also writing the 'Smooth Gaming' column. Walter can be reached at WYeates@alumni.ecu.edu for interview requests, pitches, and tips.

8 Comments on "Bipartisan Attack On Rep. Omar Highlights Corruption, Influence Of AIPAC"

  1. “Charlottesville wasn’t a neo-Nazi event. The media conflates ‘white nationalism’ (white-skinned patriot – or any black or minority patriot.”

    They were chanting “…will not replace us” and was promoted on websites such as Stormfront. If chanting that along with “Blood and Soil” a literal Nazi chant doesn’t qualify as neo-Nazi than very little will.

    “Candace Owens is frequently labelled ‘white nationalist’, ‘uncle Tom’, etc.), with ‘white supremacy’ on purpose.”

    Fallacy of relevance and whataboutism. Nothing mentioned has anything to do with Owens.

    “The centre of the Charlottesville event was an ethnically diverse prayer meeting. The media race-baited that event, just as it had been with BLM a year earlier, and that’s when you get angry people turning up, and that’s how you make news happen.”

    Jason Kessler one of the organizers of the Unite The Right rally wrote for VDare which is strongly associated with white supremacy ideology. Again combined with their chants, where the rally was promoted, and every logical thread dismisses claims of it just being about ‘praying.’

    “It’s also nothing to do with Omar’s anti-Semitism.
    It’s possible to criticise Israel. But when you’re *only* criticising Israel – when you’re only criticising the one democracy in the Middle East .. The only Jewish Nation-state .. The only nation in the Middle East where you can be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew, etc. When you want to cut off their businesses. Take their homes .. When there are brutal regimes, dictatorships, theocracies, caliphates and genocides all across the Middle East and Africa…”

    Representative Omar isn’t and hasn’t only given critique on Israel. You’re deflecting from the topic of corrupting forces in politics which was the root of her comments. AIPAC spends millions upon millions in lobbying efforts to influence policy.

    Your comment ignores the illegal settlement towns continuing being built, the treatment of Palestinians (and other minorities in the nation). Netanyahu and his regime violates human rights quite often. It’s a common talking point to deflect into whataboutism (as you have done here again) when speaking about the human rights of Palestinians.

    “It says *something* about you. And the obsession with imaginary Nazis, psychoanalysts would say, also says something about you.”

    I wrote an article and presented facts, you have continued to ignore those facts in attempt to defend clear anti-Semitism while claiming Representative Omar pointing out a truth was problematic. Also, you completely ignore in the piece where she apologized for how she framed her point.

    So, you are the only one attempting misinform or disinform those reading.

  2. Liz Holt Audette | Feb 15, 2019, 6:56 am at 6:56 am |

    People are missing the forest through the trees. Omar was calling out the corrupting influence of money in politics. Replace “AIPAC” with the NRA and the meaning doesn’t change. Special interest groups control our government, Gun lobbyist, big Pharma, fossil fuel industry… the list is endless. Until we get money out of politics, there will always be some lobbyist legally bribing our politicians. Politicians should be doing the American peopme’s bidding, not special interest groups.

    Also I can’t stand Donald Trump, the current administration and their policies. That’s doesn’t make me anti-America. The same can be said for Israel. You can be pro-Israel and not like Benjamin Netanyahu and his administration’s current far right-wing policies.

  3. JAE4PoliticalRevolution #FBR?? | Feb 15, 2019, 1:24 am at 1:24 am |

    Ilhan Omar was speaking truth and she gets labeled an anti-Semite. Yet the actual anti-Semites from the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally aren’t anti-Semites? Whether their called white nationalists, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, their actions and words were anti-Semitic. They chanted “you will not replace us, Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil”. Not to mention the swastikas and Nazi symbolism they wore. Anti-Semitism was very prevalent during that rally to say otherwise diminishes real anti-Semitism.

  4. “Charlottesville wasn’t a neo-Nazi event. The media conflates ‘white nationalism’ (white-skinned patriot – or any black or minority patriot.”

    They were chanting “Jews will not replace us” and was promoted on websites such as Stormfront. If chanting that along with “Blood and Soil” a literal Nazi chant doesn’t qualify as neo-Nazi than very little will.

    “Candace Owens is frequently labelled ‘white nationalist’, ‘uncle Tom’, etc.), with ‘white supremacy’ on purpose.”

    Fallacy of relevance and whataboutism. Nothing mentioned has anything to do with Owens.

    “The centre of the Charlottesville event was an ethnically diverse prayer meeting. The media race-baited that event, just as it had been with BLM a year earlier, and that’s when you get angry people turning up, and that’s how you make news happen.”

    That is a nice spin-job. Jason Kessler one of the organizers of the Unite The Right rally wrote for VDare which is strongly associate with white supremacy. Again combined with their chants, where the rally was promoted, and every logical thread dismisses claims of it just being about ‘praying.’

    “It’s also nothing to do with Omar’s anti-Semitism.
    It’s possible to criticise Israel. But when you’re *only* criticising Israel – when you’re only criticising the one democracy in the Middle East .. The only Jewish Nation-state .. The only nation in the Middle East where you can be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew, etc. When you want to cut off their businesses. Take their homes .. When there are brutal regimes, dictatorships, theocracies, caliphates and genocides all across the Middle East and Africa…”

    Representative Omar isn’t and hasn’t only given critique on Israel. You’re deflecting from the topic of corrupting forces in politics which was the root of her comments. AIPAC spends millions upon millions in lobbying efforts to influence policy.

    Your comment ignores the illegal settlement towns continuing being built, the treatment of Palestinians (and other minorities in the nation). Netanyahu and his regime violates human rights quite often. It’s a common talking point to deflect into whataboutism (as you have done here again) when speaking about the human rights of Palestinians.

    “It says *something* about you. And the obsession with imaginary Nazis, psychoanalysts would say, also says something about you.”

    I wrote an article and presented facts, you have continued to ignore those facts in attempt to defend clear anti-Semitism while claiming Representative Omar pointing out a truth was problematic. Also, you completely ignore in the piece where she apologized for how she framed her point.

    So, you are the only one attempting misinform or disinform those reading.

  5. “Charlottesville wasn’t a neo-Nazi event. The media conflates ‘white nationalism’ (white-skinned patriot – or any black or minority patriot.”

    The Unite The Right Rally as mentioned above had individuals chanting “Jews will not replace us” along with a literal Nazi chant “Blood and Soil.” It was also promoted on white-supremacist sites such as Stormfront. Your framing of the word patriot as meaning ‘right winger’ doesn’t hold weight.

    “Candace Owens is frequently labelled ‘white nationalist’, ‘uncle Tom’, etc.), with ‘white supremacy’ on purpose.”

    Fallacy of relevancy and whataboutism, Candace Owens has nothing to do with this discussion.

    “The centre of the Charlottesville event was an ethnically diverse prayer meeting. The media race-baited that event, just as it had been with BLM a year earlier, and that’s when you get angry people turning up, and that’s how you make news happen.”

    It is ironic you use terms such as ‘race baiting’ when again at the rally the individuals were chanting “Jews will not replace us.” Jason Kessler one of the organizers of the rally used to write for the white-supremacist site VDare along with pushing the ‘white genocide’ myth. Therefore, whatever framing they attempted to use in order to justify the rally is nothing more than an attempt to hide the bigotry displayed while they were present. They also showed up with tactical weapons in which they beat counter protesters with. Not to mention the rally being promoted on sites like Stormfront.

    “It’s also nothing to do with Omar’s anti-Semitism.
    It’s possible to criticise Israel. But when you’re *only* criticising Israel – when you’re only criticising the one democracy in the Middle East .. The only Jewish Nation-state .. The only nation in the Middle East where you can be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew, etc. When you want to cut off their businesses. Take their homes .. When there are brutal regimes, dictatorships, theocracies, caliphates and genocides all across the Middle East and Africa…”

    Representative Omar critiques far more than Israel. The foundation of her tweets was based on the corrupting of money AIPAC displays. I ask you to go read her statements and watch her questioning during the Elliot Abrams testimony. Your statement is objectively false.

    Also, AIPAC supports Netanyahu’s party and their violation of Palestinian and other minority rights in Israel. The Nation-State law is an example. They also do not speak out against the settlement towns being built nor care about the human rights of the Palestinians. Your tactic is another example of whataboutism used, to somehow assert that it’s anti-Semitic to critique Netanyahu’s government for these actions (when a lot of Jewish citizens of Israel do the same) is misinformation at best and propaganda at worst. Those speaking about human rights don’t only focus on Israel.

    “It says *something* about you. And the obsession with imaginary Nazis, psychoanalysts would say, also says something about you.”

    I will state again at the Unite The Right Rally they chanted “Blood and Soil” a literal Nazi chant and “Jews will not replace us.” That is neo-Nazi rhetoric, no matter what you would like to call it.

    You are defending actual anti-Semitism while smearing Representative Omar as being worse than those using Nazi slogans. I am a journalist who focuses on the facts, however you ignored where I highlighted her apology for the way she made her argument.

    I have yet to see those like Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler apologize for pushing their white-supremacy message which is littered with anti-Semitic messaging.

  6. Well, better than being figuratively misinformed I suppose..

    Charlottesville wasn’t a neo-Nazi event. The media conflates ‘white nationalism’ (white-skinned patriot – or any black or minority patriot .. Candace Owens is frequently labelled ‘white nationalist’, ‘uncle Tom’, etc.), with ‘white supremacy’ on purpose. The centre of the Charlottesville event was an ethnically diverse prayer meeting. The media race-baited that event, just as it had been with BLM a year earlier, and that’s when you get angry people turning up, and that’s how you make news happen.

    It’s also nothing to do with Omar’s anti-Semitism.

    It’s possible to criticise Israel. But when you’re *only* criticising Israel – when you’re only criticising the one democracy in the Middle East .. The only Jewish Nation-state .. The only nation in the Middle East where you can be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew, etc. When you want to cut off their businesses. Take their homes .. When there are brutal regimes, dictatorships, theocracies, caliphates and genocides all across the Middle East and Africa…

    It says *something* about you. And the obsession with imaginary Nazis, psychoanalysts would say, also says something about you.

  7. If you’re considering ‘BDS’ and CAIR as anti-Semitic you literally are not informed enough about this topic to even discuss this topic. Speaking about either as if they are in the same vein as neo-Nazi’s is the same tactic being used to deflect from the influence of money in politics right now.

    Characterizing the ‘left’ as having an issue with Israel is also false as most of the Jewish citizens within the United States voted solidly Democratic. People having ethical and moral problems with the Netanyahu government’s treatment of Palestinians and other minorities is also not anti-Semitic.

    The individuals discussed in the article were openly commenting about the topic, which is what Charlottesville came up as President Trump stated, “Good people on both sides” while stating Representative Omar should step down due to her comments, which were nothing in comparison. The rise of white supremacy and those individuals supporting Donald Trump is also not an indicator of ‘problematic’ tendencies on the left.

    The fallacy in your argument is whataboutism and quite easy to dissect. The conflating matters are also similarly not difficult to address.

  8. Really, Valuewalk? I could read this one-sided nonsense over on Vox.
    Why bring up Charlottesville and not, say, Omar’s support for outspoken anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan? Her ties with designated terror group, CAIR? Leniency for ISIS fighters? Descriptions of Israel as ‘evil’? Support for BDS?
    It’s the obsession with Israel, in a region as troubled as the Middle East, and willingness to slam any transgression *other* than anti-Semitism, that gives away something of the Left’s long and ‘problematic’ attitude towards the only Jewish Nation-state.

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