Women’s March Leader Defends Ilhan Omar’s Israel Attacks, Denies Anti-Semitism

‘Antisemites will not be held up as the moral authority on antisemitism…’

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Women’s March co-chair Linda Sarsour defended freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., over anti-Semitic comments about U.S. support for Israel, arguing that Jewish monetary “influence” on American politics is real.

Embroiled in her own anti-Semitism scandal, which led many former supporters to withdraw from January’s Women’s March, Sarsour wrote a Facebook post that sought to bolster Omar’s recent claims about the pro-Israeli lobbying activities of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Israel has long been considered one of America’s closest allies, a key strategic partner in supporting democracy in the Middle East, despite a chilly relationship with the Obama administration.

But Omar suggested AIPAC was, in fact, using money to sway Israeli sentiments in Congress—perpetuating a longstanding anti-Semitic trope accusing Jews of using their wealth to gain influence and access in political circles. “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar tweeted.

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Democratic leadership condemned Omar’s comments, forcing her to issue a backhanded apology.

“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 statement posted to Twitter. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics.”

Sarsour said Omar should not have apologized at all: “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 anti-Semitic is ludicrous,” she said.

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Linda Sarsour/Photo by The Center for Interfaith Relations (CC)

She also criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for threatening to take action against Omar and Rep. Rashid Tlaib for their anti-Jewish remarks.

Sarsour claimed, without evidence, that McCarthy had previously made anti-Semitic comments.

“Antisemites will not be held up as the moral authority on antisemitism,” she said, with no apparent irony.

The Women’s March was criticized for refusing to condemn co-chair Tamika Mallory‘s vocal support for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Mallory attended an event hosted by Farrakhan, during which he referred to the “Satanic Jew” and declared “the powerful Jews are my enemy.” She later posted a photo calling him the “G.O.A.T.,” or greatest of all time, and publicly reaffirmed her support on “The View.”

Both Sarsour and Omar have been outspoken in their support for the radical Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to undermine Israeli sovereignty through economic means.

“Critiques of the State of Israel ARE NOT anti-Semitic,” Sarsour wrote on Facebook. “Calling out AIPAC is not anti-Semitic.”