'Absolutely Shameful': Rep. King Blasts Rep. Omar for Anti-Semitic Rhetoric
Freshman Dem's AIPAC tweets spark condemnation.
Rep. Peter King slammed Rep. Ilhan Omar, saying it was "absolutely shameful" for the freshman Democrat from Minnesota to accuse a prominent lobbying group of paying members of Congress to support Israel.
It started when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) threatened to take action against Omar and another freshman lawmaker, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), over allegedly anti-Semitic remarks.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald criticized McCarthy's comments on Twitter, writing, "It's stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans."
Omar replied, "It's all about the Benjamins baby," and in a subsequent tweet confirmed she was referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
It's all about the Benjamins babyhttps://t.co/KatcXJnZLV
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 10, 2019
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
On "America's Newsroom" Monday, King (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, took issue with Omar's targeting of AIPAC.
He said that Israel is an indispensable U.S. strategic ally in the Middle East, and it's "immoral" for Omar to suggest that Jews have "bought off" members of Congress.
"That goes right into the anti-Semitic bias which has plagued the world for too long," King said. "After the Holocaust and all that's gone on, to be going back to that old slander and smear that somehow Jews are using money to pay people off, it's absolutely shameful."
He said he wonders why the Democratic Party leadership has not spoken out against Omar's anti-Israel statements and policies.
Host Bill Hemmer noted that Democrats like Chelsea Clinton and Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) have called out Omar, which King applauded while noting the Democratic leadership has been "shamefully silent."
"To be making Israel the enemy and to be slandering Israel like this, it's absolutely shameful. And I think leaders in both parties should come together and denounce it for what it is," King said.
"It's important now that the Democratic leadership come forward and denounce this wing of the party and the people from it who carry on with this type of anti-Semitic language."
UPDATE, 1:30pm ET: Omar's comments were condemned by House Democratic leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In a joint statement, Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján, Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark called for Omar to apologize.
The statement read:
Anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned whenever it is encountered, without exception. We are and will always be strong supporters of Israel in Congress because we understand that our support is based on shared values and strategic interests. Legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share. But Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments. As Democrats and as Americans, the entire Congress must be fully engaged in denouncing and rejecting all forms of hatred, racism, prejudice and discrimination wherever they are encountered.