Why is it Prohibited to Criticize AIPAC? On Ilhan Omar and THAT Tweet

Published February 12th, 2019 - 12:29 GMT
(Al Bawaba News/Rami Khoury)
(Al Bawaba News/Rami Khoury)

By Randa Darwish

Debates on the power of Israel’s lobby in Washington have been ongoing for a long time now. It reached a peak in the past two days with the latest remarks made by Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar on AIPAC and the role it plays in US politics.

By the beginning of this week, Omar tweeted a post calling out the most powerful and recognizable Israeli lobby in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

In her tweet, Omar writes “AIPAC”’s name as a response to one tweet asking her about her thoughts on the body paying US politicians to be pro-Israel.

Comments accusing the first Black, Muslim and hijabi congresswoman of anti-Semitism were quick and spread all over social media.

It did not take too long until many prominent figures jumped on the story and denounced Omar’s words as allegedly containing anti-Semitic implications against Jews.

Chelsea Clinton and other Republican and Democratic establishment figures joined the wave and demanded Omar to apologize over the “anti-Semitic” remarks she made. Some also attacked her for implying that Jewish people used money to control governments.

The story has taken Twitter by storm and led the Somali-American congresswoman to post an apology.

Meanwhile, the whole attack against Ilhan Omar - from the original tweet to her apology - has been irrelevant for many Americans, particularly American Jews.

In fact, Omar’s first tweet on AIPAC’s lobbying in the US through using money to rally politicians for Israel has stated the obvious influence and power of this organization in Washington.

AIPAC, according to Washington-based Open Secrets center, had spent $3.52 million lobbying in 2018.

However, such attacks on US politicians who express any sentiment criticizing Israel remain an indication of how powerful the Israeli lobby in Washington is, to the level that it can turn US politicians who support freedom of speech in some cases, to requesting an apology in other cases.

Meanwhile, this controversy over Omar’s tweet has led many American Jews to voice support with Ilhan Omar in her war against the attack.

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