Omar: ‘I unequivocally apologize’ after backlash over new Israel tweets


Earlier on Monday, leading House Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, condemned Omar's comments in a statement and called on her to apologise.

"Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes", Omar wrote in a Twitter statement.

The apology came a day after Omar posted a pair of tweets that suggested political support for Israel is driven by money from American Jews.

A new Democratic congresswoman is facing a firestorm of criticism for suggesting United States politicians only support Israel because of lobby money.

Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tried to apologize for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories over the weekend in a statement released on Monday and ended up promoting her anti-Semitic views even more. Pelosi also said she had spoken with Omar and said they "agreed that we must use this moment to move forward as we reject anti-Semitism in all forms".

Representative Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, called Omar's comments "deeply disturbing" and, in an effort to expose Omar's pattern of behavior, cited a previous tweet, for which she has since apologized, accusing Israel of "hypnotizing the world".

The Minnesota freshman has faced criticism for weeks over her positions on the Jewish state, but it boiled over late Sunday after she reacted to a Republican critic in a tweet.

Back in October, McCarthy posted a tweet that suggested three Jewish billionaire Democratic donors - George Soros, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg - were attempting to "buy" the 2018 midterm elections. Implying that Americans support Israel because of money alone is offensive enough.

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"Her comments trouble me", Clinton wrote to a follower, noting that she wanted to meet with Omar to express her concern.

"I fully expect that when we disagree on the Foreign Affairs Committee, we will debate policy on the merits and never question members' motives or resort to personal attacks", Engel said. "There is absolutely no place for this rhetoric in Congress - or anywhere".

Update (02/11/10, 3 p.m. ET): This story was updated to include a statement from Representative Ilhan Omar. She has been accused of anti-Semitism in the past. She said in a tweet she was "listening and learning, but standing strong".

The controversy started Sunday evening, when Omar responded to a comment about political leaders' support for Israel. Such legislation includes financial support for Israel and measures that would ban boycotts of Israel, including the BDS movement that Omar and Tlaib support.

But others have called the attacks a smear campaign against Ms Omar, and some noted that there is a difference between criticising AIPAC activities and anti-semitism.

New York Democratic Rep. Max Rose tweeted, "When someone uses hateful and offensive tropes and words against people of any faith, I will not be silent".

Anthony Brindisi, who also narrowly won his NY swing district, called Omar's comments "disgraceful and blatantly anti-Semitic".