#StandwithIlhan: Social media users defend Ilhan Omar after her forced apology over anti-Semitism
Calling out @AIPAC & supporting Palestinian rights is not anti-Semitic. @ilhanMN is a brave Congresswoman standing up for the people of #Palestine, #Yemen, & #Venezuela. We must support anyone willing to speak truth to power. #StandWithIlhanhttps://t.co/AjxTCFQlWApic.twitter.com/WeSBQF8USh— CODEPINK (@codepink) February 11, 2019
Omar was seemingly forced to apologize by Democratic leadership after she tweeted about Israeli influence and named the powerful Israel lobbying group AIPAC as having a hold over US politicians.
Although her statements were backed up, Omar faced an onslaught of outrage from a wide range of commenters, from Chelsea Clinton to President Donald Trump, who said she should be “ashamed of herself.” This despite the fact that Trump faced criticism for making anti-Semitic tropes about members of the Republican Jewish Coalition liking money and making deals when he addressed them in 2015.
“I don’t think her apology was adequate,” he unironically said of Omar.
Listening and learning, but standing strong 💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/7TSroSf8h1— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
If you support free speech, liberty, and general American values, you will #StandWithIlhan, otherwise you are anti-American— John Wick (@JohnWickOneShot) February 12, 2019
Omar “unequivocally” apologized for her remarks in a statement which also reaffirmed the problematic role of lobbyists in US politics. This prompted many to accuse her of not apologizing enough, while her supporters expressed disappointment that she was apologizing at all.
Many voicing their support for Omar pointed to American values of freedom of speech and shared a petition urging the Democratic leadership to stand up against “bad faith attacks” targeting Omar even after her apology. Others said they had donated to her campaign.
Even after apologizing for the impact of her statements, @IlhanMN continues to be attacked by a bad-faith right-wing smear campaign. We're calling on @SpeakerPelosi@LeaderHoyer@RepEliotEngel to not cave to these attacks #StandWithIlhanhttps://t.co/Qe5aIahkYupic.twitter.com/KfdSy0ZIli— MPower Change (@MPower_Change) February 11, 2019
Thank you, Congresswoman, for your brave, principled stand against seven decades of Israeli atrocities. I know it can't have been easy, and many of us are more grateful than you can probably imagine. Whatever happens moving forward, we'll have your back. https://t.co/IbZGPhswU5— Joe Catron 🇻🇪🌹🇵🇸 (@jncatron) February 11, 2019
I am a Jew and I just donated $5 to @IlhanMN for the disgusting smears over her reasonable criticisms of @AIPAC, which does have undue influence over our government. Join me: https://t.co/EmiIXouY1Qpic.twitter.com/1jsUTrg23L— Citizens' Media TV 🦉🌹 (@citizensmediatv) February 11, 2019
If you don't think Israel has strange influence over U.S. politics, ask yourself why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress.— Johnny Akzam (@JohnnyAkzam) February 12, 2019
You want to attack @IlhanMN for stating the obvious? Let's dissect the relationship. #StandWithIlhan
Social media users also provided more information to back up Omar’s initial tweets about Israel’s influence, and pointed to disconnects between House Leader Nancy Pelosi’s statement supporting Israel and denouncing “racism, prejudice and discrimination” in light of freedoms not offered to Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
.@SpeakerPelosi, it's embarrassing that you believe the ish you write. Ask the 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, including a number of duly elected legislators, whether Israel believes in "values of free speech and democratic debate." #StandWithIlhanhttps://t.co/1qcCAKO4mG— US Palestinian Community Network (@uspcn) February 12, 2019
Israel murders Palestinian unarmed children on a weekly basis and you are doing their propaganda work for them in Congress https://t.co/xMbp1qybtv— Asa Winstanley (@AsaWinstanley) February 11, 2019
#StandWithIlhan calling out illegal settlements, military occupation, and violations of Palestinians human rights is NOT anti-semitic.— Emmitt Issa (@emitquiz) February 12, 2019
Congresswoman @IlhanMN is way ahead of you @SpeakerPelosi in rejecting racism. You have a lot to learn from her. You’re so racist you don’t even see how racist you are. Your blind support of terrorist Israel shows your shameless #AntiPalestinianism#StandWithIlhan#BDS 🇵🇸— Mary Hughes-Thompson (@Mariapalestina) February 11, 2019
A former Democratic campaign staffer created a Twitter thread outlining how an Ohio congressional candidate he was working for was approached by AIPAC, which promised a campaign donation in exchange for his candidate making two statements in line with Israel’s interests.
A thread on @IlhanMN, anti-semitism, and my personal experience with @AIPAC’s money.— Ady Barkan🔥🌹 (@AdyBarkan) February 11, 2019
In 2006, I was the first real staffer on a long-shot Democratic Congressional race in deep red Ohio. My boss was a hippie doctor with a lefty perspective on international affairs... (Continued)
#StandWithIlhan She is a strong honest women who is against foreign influence in or government which is SUPPOSED to b unconstitutional. Even @SenSchumer wanted to ban free speech. #SlipperySlopepic.twitter.com/hfAOGOnQMx— Kat Tiger Cozi (@CoziTiger) February 12, 2019
The volume of outrage and cries of anti-Semitism from the US establishment seemed to further bolster Omar’s comments about the sway the Israel lobby holds over elected officials and the country’s two leading political parties.
Equating criticism of powerful corrupt lobbyists such as #AIPAC as anti-semitic only proves #IlhanOmar's point of the influence of these groups. Anti-semitism is evil and unacceptable but vastly different from criticizing Israel's policies. #standwithilhan— Parvin (@astateofwishing) February 12, 2019
The Israeli lobby is so powerful that any criticism of Israel is immediately classed as anti-Semitism and you're attacked by liberals and right wingers alike.— Ali علي (@Alii_iii) February 11, 2019
As a Jew, I want to welcome anyone who wants to criticize a lobbying coalition funded by arms manufacturers, evangelical Christians, and allies of the right wing edge of Israeli politics. Criticizing AIPAC is not anti-Semitic and it’s absurd that this even needs to be said.— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) February 11, 2019
Ironically, smearing people as anti-Semites is a tactic employed by the Israel lobby both in the US and theUK, as detailed in two Al Jazeera documentaries which saw an undercover reporter infiltrate both the US and UK lobby to reveal methods employed by the groups. The US version was never aired by Al Jazeera as a result of pressure wrought by the Israel lobby and members of Congress, who accused the network of… anti-Semitism.
If you don't want to believe @IlhanMN about @AIPAC influencing Congress on behalf of Israel, listen to former AIPAC director, Eric Gallagher, say the exact same thing. (This clip is from the incredible @AlJazeera documentary, The Lobby USA - https://t.co/lFmSseSoky) pic.twitter.com/kLkNsy9Iqq— Kei Pritsker (@keipritsker) February 12, 2019
One clip from the censored documentary shared on Twitter shows former AIPAC Director Eric Gallagher explaining that “everything AIPAC does is focused on influencing Congress.”
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