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
Part 4 - The Defense Industry
The influence of AIPAC and other pro-Israel organizations impacts one of Washington’s biggest special-interest groups: the defense industry. As Sludge previously reported, both defense and pro-Israel interests have donated significant amounts of money to the campaign of Engel, whose committee has jurisdiction of arms exports. The top U.S. weapons manufacturers benefit from Israeli weapons purchases, made possible in part by American financial assistance.
Engel was one of several Democrats to chastise Omar on Monday. In 2017, he co-sponsored an anti-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) bill in the House (Omar and Tlaib’s support for BDS is at the root of their colleagues’ criticisms of them). In line with AIPAC, Engel also opposed the 2010 Iran Deal and supported Trump’s Israeli embassy relocation.
Despite Democratic House leaders having stymied an effort to censure the openly white supremacist Republican Rep. Steve King (Iowa) last month, they called on Omar to apologize for her tweets on Monday afternoon, which she did minutes later on Twitter.
In her apology, Omar added, “I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”