Omar: ‘I unequivocally apologize’ after backlash over new Israel tweets

Omar Ilhan in anti-Semitism row for saying AIPAC money behind Republican support for Israel

‘All about the Benjamins’: Ilhan Omar sparks Twitter backlash over ‘anti-Semitic’ post

Omar has drawn criticism from tweets she posted regarding Israel. "My intention is never to offend my constituents of Jewish Americans as a whole", she said in a statement. "It's gone on too long and we must be willing to address it". "At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in the US and overseas, Rep. Omar is promoting the ugly, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews have an outsized influence over politics", Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of ADL, said in a written statement.

However, Omar added that she remains critical about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and believes it unduly influences United States politics.

Liz Cheney, a top Republican leader in the House of Representatives, urged Democratic leaders to remove Omar from the committee.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel in a statement Monday did not directly mention Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar's tweet, in which she said that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is paying members of Congress to support the Jewish state. Omar is one of two of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress.

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Several prominent Democratic figures - including Jewish members of the House caucus - have condemned her, and called for a nonpartisan response to the use of classic antisemitic tropes. She said the statement came in the context of Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Yesterday, Omar, a new congresswoman, suggested on Twitter that American politicians are influenced by a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, setting off a firestorm of criticisms from both sides of the aisle.

Max Rose, who won a tight race in NY, said the Democratic Party and the USA should be a place where "we celebrate the diversity of our people".

Calls for Democrat leaders to take action have multiplied since Omar's comments Sunday.

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House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler, also of NY, said Ms Omar's choice of words was "deeply disappointing and disturbing".

Minnesota DFL U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar is under fire for Twitter exchanges that Democratic allies, along with Republicans and Jewish organizations, are condemning as hateful and anti-Semitic. This time around, Jews are said to be buying support for Israel. Beyond that, there is a very specific set of religious perspectives that make America more pro-Israel than similar but more secular countries; many Christians from various traditions have a bad conscience over many centuries of Christian anti-Semitism. The Republicans recently punished one their own, Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King, for comments questioning when language like "white supremacist" became offensive. "There is absolutely no place for this rhetoric in Congress - or anywhere", New Jersey Democrat Rep. Josh Gottheimer tweeted.

Update (02/11/10, 3 p.m. ET): This story was updated to include a statement from Representative Ilhan Omar.

Still, some who agree with Omar's position on Israel argued that she could criticise the Israeli government or the pro-Israel lobbying establishment without using stereotypes that Jews find offensive.

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