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ILHAN UNDER FIRE: Nancy Pelosi Jabs Ilhan Omar at Annual AIPAC Conference

ILHAN UNDER FIRE: Nancy Pelosi Jabs Ilhan Omar at Annual AIPAC Conference

Netanyahu took aim at Omar in his speech, saying: "From this Benjamin - it's not all about the Benjamins", in reference to U.S. support for Israel which Omar had highlighted in a tweet last month.

The lawmaker faced widespread attacks last month after she said the pro-Israel lobby pushes for "allegiance" to a foreign nation and suggesting that support for Israel in Washington is driven by financial contributions to U.S. politicians. "I think that's a misinterpretation against her", Ali Muse, a Somali-American, told VOA. She was not, in fact, throwing out accusations of dual loyalty against Jewish figures in America, but protesting the forces that demanded that she express allegiance to Israel as an American elected official. He suggested that they are not only criticizing Israeli policies, regardless of what they say, but rather "spew venom" against Jewish people who they accuse of being disloyal and too influential.

Netanyahu had cut short his visit to Washington on Monday after rocket attacks near Tel Aviv hit a home, injuring seven Israelis. While some in the House sought a resolution targeted specifically at anti-Semitism, the chamber passed a broader anti-hate measure.

But his party has fed the narrative after House Democrats stumbled in responding to comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who so far this year has said lawmakers who support Israel were bought by AIPAC and that Jewish lawmakers hold dual loyalty - both classic anti-Semitic tropes.

In a tweet in February, Omar wrote the song lyric, "It's all about the Benjamins, baby", and she later suggested that money from AIPAC drove US politicians to support Israel.

Before Netanyahu spoke, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman also invoked Omar, telling the crowd that it would always do what is needed to defend Israel. She drew condemnation in February, even from fellow Democrats, after she implied that Jewish politicians in the USA were bought.




Several top Republicans have also recently accused Democrats of showing dwindling support for Israel - a strategy that analyst say aims to exploit divisions within the party ahead of the 2020 presidential elections. "We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work", the group said on Twitter.

"Time is urgent! When news broke last week of her shameful anti-Semitic messaging, President Trump called for her to resign from her congressional seat". But he says Omar's comments are particularly risky in a growing atmosphere of anti-Semitism. To state the obvious, AIPAC is not the same thing as Israel.

Amid a pressure campaign from progressive groups, a number of Democratic presidential candidates didn't attend the three-day conference.

Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, said he welcomes policy debate but that it was "deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow American citizens due to their political views, including the U.S. -Israel relationship".

Pelosi also condemned calls to impose sanctions on Israel by calling the proposal a bigoted ideology that's masquerading as policy.

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