Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is getting support from anti-Semites across the political spectrum Monday, after tweeting about AIPAC’s “influence” on the federal government: she’s been lauded by David Duke from the far right, and is now receiving plaudits from from Linda Sarsour, the leader of the Women’s March.
Sarsour is well-known for her own ties to anti-Semitic leaders, and her own espousal of anti-Semitic ideas. The progressive leader has regularly spoken out against the state of Israel, and, in twin exposes in both Tablet Magazine and The New York Times, was accused of confronting Jewish Women’s March leaders at the movement’s foundational meetings — and eventually helping to strongarm those same Jewish women out of leadership positions.
Sarsour is also well connected to the Nation of Islam and its virulently anti-Semitic leader, Louis Farrakhan. Sarsour forged a bond between the Women’s March and the Nation of Islam, and reportedly arranged for the Nation of Islam to provide security for Women’s March leaders and at Women’s March events.
So it’s no surprise that Sarsour penned an essay defending Omar, who, Sunday night, tweeted out a blatantly anti-Semitic trope, accusing the pro-Israel group, AIPAC, of bankrolling lawmakers on behalf of the state of Israel.
“AIPAC is one of the most influential lobbies in American politics – alongside the NRA (maybe not anymore), fossil fuel industry and big pharmaceuticals,” Sarsour wrote on Facebook, clearly unaware that AIPAC has a lobbying budget of a mere $3.5 million per year, compared to $20M or $30M for fossil fuel companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
“AIPAC connects donors to campaigns and elected officials. Trying to argue that critiquing the role of AIPAC which let’s be clear is not a Jewish organization, many of its leaders and members are Christian Zionists – is antisemitic is ludicrous,” Sarsour continued. “Critiques of the State of Israel ARE NOT antisemitic. Calling out AIPAC is not antisemitic…We have work to do to dismantle all forms of racism including antisemitism. We do that under the leadership of Jewish allies who have invested in education, relationship building not vilification and harassment.”
“I will not be silent in the face of attacks, harassment and targeted policing of speech from a Black Muslim woman elected official, our sister Ilhan Omar in the name of combatting antisemitism. We can stand up for Ilhan knowing her record and what she stands for and also combat antisemitism. I will not be distracted by the fact that dangerous antisemitism is being peddled by the very people claiming to care about Jews and antisemítism,” she concluded.
Sarsour added that she believes Republican Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is, in fact, the most anti-Semitic Member of Congress — not Omar — for noting that George Soros is a top donor to the Democratic Party, though McCarthy has been clear that he is opposed to Soros’ far-left positions on issues like immigration, not his religion.
Sarsour also posted twice more, encouraging her followers to contact their Democratic representative in order to prevent Democratic leadership from issuing an official condemnation of Omar’s rhetoric. According to Sarsour, opposition to Omar’s tweet is designed to “stifle free speech in favor of Palestinians and in opposition to Israeli policies,” not crack down on anti-Semitism in Democratic ranks.
Sarsour’s effort failed; by the middle of Monday afternoon, leadership, including Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), had issued statements chastising Omar for adopting and propagating anti-Semitic tropes.