U.S. representatives claimed their colleague, Rep. Ilhan Omar, was anti-Semitic when she brought up AIPAC’s influence over members of Congress.
by Alex Kotch
On Monday, congressional Republicans and Democrats called out freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for her tweet alleging that money motivated House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to threaten to punish Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)—the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress—for their criticism of the Israeli government.
It's all about the Benjamins baby 🎶 https://t.co/KatcXJnZLV— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 10, 2019
While it’s difficult to pin down what motivates the policy decisions of individual members of Congress, it’s relevant to consider the strong influence that AIPAC has over Congress, which Omar did in a follow-up tweet.
The congresswoman from Minnesota, who came to the U.S. in 1995 as a Somali refugee, did not allege that AIPAC is the only pro-Israel organization seeking to influence American politicians’ actions regarding Israel. It is, however, one of the most powerful.
Does AIPAC directly pay members of Congress to vote for “pro-Israel” policies, something Omar alleged and Forward opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon challenged on Twitter? The short answer is “no,” but the nuanced answer is far more complicated.
Here’s how AIPAC spends money to influence American politics.