Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) slammed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) this week for an ad calling out various Democrats — including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — who have criticized Israel for defending itself against Hamas terror attacks.
One AIPAC ad featured a picture of Omar superimposed over Hamas rocket fire, with the caption, “When Israel targets Hamas, Rep. Omar calls it an ‘act of terrorism.’”
“Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians,” AIPAC wrote. “This isn’t about evictions, annexation, or two states. It’s not about Palestinians or a better future. It’s about Hamas wanting to terrorize Israelis, destroy Israel, and gain power for itself and its Iranian backers.”
The ad appeared to be referencing a May 10 tweet by Omar that read, “Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism.”
Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism.
Palestinians deserve protection.
Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians.
It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid. https://t.co/vWWQfMqBkT
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 10, 2021
Three other images shared by AIPAC displayed the text, “Israeli citizens — Jews and Arabs — have faced more than 3,100 rocket attacks over the past week from Hamas, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization. Tell Congress: America must stand with Israel.”
One image shows numerous Democrats with the caption, “Israel is under attack yet some in Congress want to put political restrictions on our aid to Israel.” Another featured Ocasio-Cortez, with the caption, “‘It’s wrong’ for President Biden to say Israel ‘has a right to defend itself.’”
On Wednesday, Omar complained that the ads were “deeply offensive.”
“This is desperate and deeply offensive,” Omar tweeted. “The rights of Palestinians and all people yearning for freedom and self-determination will not be ignored and no level of harassment will silence me or the millions of people demanding peace and justice.”
This is desperate and deeply offensive.
The rights of Palestinians and all people yearning for freedom and self-determination will not be ignored and no level of harassment will silence me or the millions of people demanding peace and justice. https://t.co/JK3I0xcAjz
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 19, 2021
Pelosi responded to AIPAC’s ads by condemning the pro-Israel group.
“I don’t agree with Congresswoman Omar’s comments, but it’s very disappointing to see deeply cynical and inflammatory ads twisting her words,” Pelosi said Wednesday.
“As we always respect Israel’s right to defend herself, there must be a serious effort on the part of both parties in the conflict to end the violence and respect the rights of both the Israeli and Palestinian people,” Pelosi added.
As reported by The Washington Post, Facebook refused to give in to Democrats’ calls to remove the adverts from their platform. “Facebook spokesman Andy Stone confirmed the company determined the ads did not violate its policies. However, the social network does reject ads that its fact-checking partners determine are false, and the company told Omar’s office in an email exchange that this ad would be eligible for a fact check.”
According to the Post, Omar’s office expressed deep concern “that Facebook would continue to profit off this hate.”
In 2019, Omar was widely criticized for anti-Semitic rhetoric when she argued that American support for Israel was motivated by Jewish money, tweeting, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”