Freshman congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is once again facing accusations of antisemitism, this time for her response to an endorsement received by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for president in 2020.
On Saturday afternoon, Omar responded to an article quoting Leon Cooperman, a billionaire hedge fund manager who is Jewish, stating he would support Bloomberg, a fellow billionaire, for president. Like Cooperman, Bloomberg is also Jewish.
“I wonder why?” the far-left “Squad” member wrote in response to Cooperman’s endorsement, concluding with a “thinking” emoji.
I wonder why? https://t.co/fc2wx26oTA
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 9, 2019
Omar’s tweet was met with blowback on social media.
“I suppose you think it’s all about the Benjamins,” tweeted Michael Dickson, executive director of Stand with Us, an organization that combats anti-Semitism. “We get your insinuation. True to form.”
I suppose you think it’s all about the Benjamins? We get your insinuation. True to form. https://t.co/dynXq6HqXN
— Michael Dickson (@michaeldickson) November 9, 2019
Arsen Ostrovsky, an attorney and political commentator, posted a screenshot of the Minnesota Democrat’s “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” tweet and wrote: “Oh gee, please do enlighten us again, because you were in such ‘fine form’ before…”
Oh gee, please do enlighten us again, because you were in such 'fine form' before … pic.twitter.com/T0XADn9yT9
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) November 9, 2019
“Omar very carefully making an anti-Semitic tweet with just enough vagueness to claim that ackshually [sic] she meant it was about the benjamins and not about religion,” wrote polling analyst Josh Jordan. “But everyone knows what she meant, which is why she continues to do it.”
Omar very carefully making an anti-Semitic tweet with just enough vagueness to claim that ackshually she meant it was about the benjamins and not about religion.
But everyone knows what she meant, which is why she continues to do it. https://t.co/tBuU3eNxX5
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) November 9, 2019
“Ilhan Omar doesn’t tweet alone,” said pro-Israel activist Hen Mazzig. “She has a media team who’s [sic] job is to prevent her from saying offensive things. Either she can’t find anyone that is knowledgable about Antisemitic dogwhistles, despite Jews begging her to educate herself, or that they know what she says hurts us.”
Ilhan Omar doesn’t tweet alone. She has a media team who’s job is to prevent her from saying offensive things.
Either she can’t find anyone that is knowledgeable about Antisemitic dogwhistles, despite Jews begging her to educate herself, or that they know what she says hurts us.
— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 10, 2019
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova responded: “Generalizing is wrong no matter which ‘group’ of people one talks about. It’s about assigning labels and I hate that.”
Generalizing is wrong no matter which “group” of people one talks about. It’s about assigning labels and I hate that.
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) November 9, 2019
Conversely, Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American anti-Israel activist who helped organize the nationwide Women’s March, rushed to Omar’s defense, tweeting: “Oh for God’s sake, stop this ridiculousness. This obsession with every word Ilhan says or tweets is tired and it’s getting old.”
Oh for God’s sake, stop this ridiculousness. This obsession with every word Ilhan says or tweets is tired and it’s getting old. https://t.co/TRhwHoJW7d
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) November 9, 2019
Omar has previously been accused of antisemitism and trafficking in anti-Jewish tropes. This year, she quipped, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” a reference to a $100 bill with Benjamin Franklin’s image. Critics said her remark was a suggestion that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is bribing lawmakers to be pro-Israel. Omar’s comments were met with bi-partisan condemnation, prompting her to apologize.
“I welcome debate in Congress based on the merits of policy, but it’s unacceptable and deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow American citizens because of their political views, including support for the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said at the time. “Her comments were outrageous and deeply hurtful, and I ask that she retract them, apologize, and commit to making her case on policy issues without resorting to attacks that have no place in the Foreign Affairs Committee or the House of Representatives.”
In 2012, she tweeted (and has since deleted) that Israel had “hypnotized” the world.
In August, Omar and fellow freshman congresswoman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) from barred from visiting Israel over their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.