UPDATE: Rep. Omar has since apologized for her remarks. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded with the following:
It was appropriate for Rep. Omar to step forward to acknowledge her mistake and apologize for it. ADL spends every single day fighting anti-Semitism and hate, and we remain hopeful about our country’s ability to move beyond it.
We've been encouraged to see a wide range of officials, Jews and non-Jews, Democrats and Republicans, standing up to say that anti-Semitism is unacceptable and that hateful insinuations about advocacy organizations like AIPAC are wrong.
Education is the first step to fighting hate for good. ADL would like to offer training for any House members and staff about anti-Semitism and how we can all can work together to fight it.
New York, NY, February 11, 2019 … The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) today called on the leadership of the House of Representatives to take action in response to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s statements yesterday suggesting that Jewish influence and money was the reason for strong bipartisan support for Israel.
On Sunday night, Rep. Omar tweeted, “it’s all about the Benjamins baby” in response to a tweet from journalist Glenn Greenwald saying that “it’s stunning how much time U.S. political leaders spend defending a foreign nation,” referring to Israel (“Benjamins” is slang for 100-dollar bills). Later, when asked via Twitter by another journalist who she thought was paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, Rep. Omar responded, “AIPAC.”
“As Americans and Jews, we expect our politicians to condemn bigotry, not to fuel it. Words matter. At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in the U.S. and abroad, Rep. Omar is promoting the ugly, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews have an outsized influence over politics. The notion that wealthy Jews are controlling the government is a longstanding anti-Semitic trope and one of the pillars of modern anti-Semitism, a retread of ideas spread by bigots from David Duke to Louis Farrakhan. As the people’s House, the House of Representatives must not tolerate any bigotry against any community in our nation. We call on the House leadership to take immediate action, so that the message is clear: anti-Semitism will not be tolerated,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of ADL.
“Unfortunately, making insensitive statements toward the Jewish community is not new for Rep. Omar. These tweets are part of a disturbing pattern of behavior that must end. The Congresswoman needs to understand that these comments promote dangerous stereotypes and are hurtful to her Jewish constituents and Jewish-Americans throughout the country,” Greenblatt continued.
Strong bipartisan support for Israel is not a result of money or lobbying. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and a strong American ally in a strategically important region. AIPAC is an established, bipartisan organization comprised of countless Americans both Jewish and non-Jewish, who proudly support a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. Grassroots advocacy is a critical part of our robust democracy – and AIPAC has every right to work effectively with members of Congress to support the U.S.-Israel relationship.