When your party’s last ambassador to Israel calls out your anti-Semitism, it’s time to listen.
Dan Shapiro, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Israel during most of President Barack Obama’s presidency (2011-2017), sent out a lengthy tweet thread Monday morning condemning Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for anti-Semitic tweets the freshmen congresswoman sent out Sunday night.
“@IlhanMN's outrageous comments equating politicians' support for Israel with being bought off by American Jewish money are a vile anti-Semitic trope. They need to be condemned by all in our party,” Shapiro tweeted.
Shapiro said he and others “remained uncomfortably quiet after her [boycott, divestment, sanctions] BDS flip-flop &other offensive remarks because we were aware of efforts to work with her: by colleagues, party leaders, her local Jewish community in MN.”
He says Omar told these groups that Israel and Palestine issues were not her main priorities, but that doesn’t appear to have been the truth.
“Her support for BDS is apparently her essence: blaming Israel alone for the conflict, absolving Palestinians of all responsibility, delegitimizing Israel's very existence, &accusing its supporters of shallow motives &manipulation by Jewish money,” Shapiro tweeted.
His tweets come in response to comments made by the new congresswoman Sunday evening, in which she claimed the Republican Party’s support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby.” She made this comment after it was reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was looking to punish Omar and her colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) for their anti-Semitism. When Batya Ungar-Sargon, the opinion editor for the Forward, asked who Omar thought was “paying American politicians to be pro-Israel,” Omar responded: “AIPAC!” referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
AIPAC only spends at most $3.5 million a year on pro-Israel lobbying efforts, according to research from The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti. It’s toward the bottom of the top 50 political spenders, behind even the “beer wholesalers.”
Shapiro went on to discuss “room to differ” on Israeli policy and said criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, but this is not the way to do it.
“Omar has many colleagues who've modeled how to strike this balance for years: supporting Israel's security &legitimacy &close US-Isr ties, supporting 2 states for 2 peoples, criticizing each side when warranted, differing with/Trump's approach that helps entrench the conflict,” Shapiro tweeted.
He explained that “she could have had real influence” if she had shown “sympathy and empathy for Israelis and Palestinians,” but instead, she “chose” to do things this way.
“No one is trying to silence her. She can advocate any policy she wants. And if she'll listen, we should keep the door open. Meanwhile, those who strongly disagree with her views and find them ill-informed, offensive, and even anti-Semitic also have to speak up. We must,” Shapiro concluded.
It should be noted that Shapiro and the Obama administration were no friends to Israel. Just a month before President Donald Trump took office, Obama’s ambassador to the U.N. abstained from a vote on a resolution requiring Israel to stop building settlements on Palestinian land. For decades, the U.S. has protected Israel with its veto power on such resolutions. This was just the tail end of an administration that strained the U.S.’s relationship with their biggest ally in the Middle East.
Former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett told Omar on January 30 “We have your back!” after she claimed concerns about her being on the House Foreign Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations only related to her religion.
Obama himself has not condemned the anti-Semitism coming from Omar or Tlaib.
Contacts for Jarrett and Obama did not immediately respond to a Daily Wire inquiry.