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In open letter, Jewish Americans come out in support of Ilhan Omar

US congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar of Minnesota delivers a speech at the event that was held by Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Washington DC, United States on January 10, 2019 [Safvan Allahverdi / Anadolu Agency ]
US congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar of Minnesota delivers a speech in Washington, US on 10 January 2019 [Safvan Allahverdi/Anadolu Agency ]

American Jews, including prominent figures like Naomi Klein, have signed an open letter in support of Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

The letter states that she has been “falsely accused of antisemitism” and that there was nothing anti-Semitic about calling out the “noxious” role of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in American politics.

It went on to say that The pro-Israel lobby has played an outsized role in producing nearly unanimous congressional support for Israel, and slammed AIPAC and other lobby groups including the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the fossil fuel lobby for its “anti-democratic” legislative influence on US politics.

The letter finished by saying We thank Ilhan Omar for having the bravery to shake up the congressional taboo against criticizing Israel. As Jews with a long tradition of social justice and anti-racism, AIPAC does not represent us.” and called on other Jews to sign the letter.

READ: Ilhan Omar vows to make US live up to religious freedom

Omar has faced huge backlash after calling out AIPAC, including facing accusations of anti-Semitism from both Democrats and Republicans, floor action against her by Nancy Pelosi, and disturbing posters at a Republican event, linking her to the 9/11 attacks.

The charge of anti-Semitism comes after Omar said that the Republican Party’s threats against her and Palestinian-American congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for criticising Israel was “all about the Benjamins, baby!” in reference to money allegedly paid to the party and its members to support Tel Aviv.

When she was asked to clarify who is paying members, she cited AIPAC, which has previously boasted about its financial influence in US politics.

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