Pelosi, Dem leaders urge Omar to apologize for 'anti-Semitic' tweet

House Democratic leaders, led by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump knocks Democrats on 'Open Borders' The Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? Democrats already jockeying for House leadership posts MORE (Calif.), on Monday accused Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarThe four House Democrats who voted against the border funding bill Ocasio-Cortez: It was easier to get elected to Congress than pay off student loan debt Progressive group endorses three House freshmen MORE (D-Minn.) of using "anti-Semitic tropes" and called on her to apologize after she sent tweets suggesting that lawmakers defending Israel were motivated by money.

“We are and will always be strong supporters of Israel in Congress because we understand that our support is based on shared values and strategic interests," the top officials of the House Democratic leadership said in a rare joint statement. "Legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share."

Along with Pelosi, the statement was co-signed by Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats already jockeying for House leadership posts House Democratic leaders work to secure votes for border bill Hoyer: House won't move forward on congressional pay bump MORE (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.), Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesThe Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? Democrats already jockeying for House leadership posts House Democrats close to finalizing border aid bill MORE (N.Y.) and Caucus Vice Chairwoman Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkDemocrats already jockeying for House leadership posts Overnight Health Care: Major doctors group votes to oppose single-payer | Panel recommends wider use of HIV prevention pill | New lawsuit over Trump 'conscience protection' rule Democrats scuttle attempt to strike Hyde Amendment from spending bill MORE (Mass.) said in the statement.

"But Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments," they wrote.

Pelosi added in a tweet that she spoke directly to Omar on Monday.
 
"In our conversation today, Congresswoman Omar and I agreed that we must use this moment to move forward as we reject anti-Semitism in all forms," Pelosi wrote.
 

"It's all about the Benjamins baby," Omar wrote, referring to money.

Omar then tweeted that AIPAC was paying American politicians to support Israel. She was referring to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, a powerful nonprofit advocacy organization that doesn't directly donate to political candidates. AIPAC does, however, sponsor regular congressional delegations to Israel.

Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, faced widespread condemnation from fellow Democrats for her comments.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is Jewish, issued a lengthy statement saying that Omar's comments were "deeply hurtful and offensive."

"While of course our nation’s leaders are free to debate the relative influence of a particular organization on our country’s policy-making process, or the factors that make our system of governance imperfect, there is an expectation of leaders — particularly those with a demonstrated commitment to the cause of justice and equality — that they would be extremely careful not to tread into the waters of anti-Semitism or any other form of prejudice or hate. Rep. Omar failed that test of leadership with these comments," Nadler said.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelBipartisan House duo unveils amendment to block Iran strike without Congress's approval Top Democrat accuses White House of obstructing review related to Trump-Putin communications Overnight Defense: Officials brief Congress after Iran shoots down drone | Lawmakers fear 'grave situation' | Trump warns Iran | Senate votes to block Saudi arms sales | Bombshell confession at Navy SEAL's murder trial MORE (D-N.Y.), who is also Jewish, similarly accused Omar of invoking an "anti-Semitic trope." Omar is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

"I fully expect that when we disagree on the Foreign Affairs Committee, we will debate policy on the merits and never question members’ motives or resort to personal attacks," Engel said in a statement.

McCarthy pledged on Monday that House Republicans would take action this week "to ensure the House speaks out against this hatred and stands with Israel and the Jewish people." McCarthy's office didn't immediately clarify what exactly that action would entail.

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinDemocrats struggle with repeal of key Trump tax provision Don't let demagoguery derail new black-Jewish congressional alliance Overnight Defense: Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy | Trump, Macron downplay rift on Iran | Trump mourns West Point cadet's death in accident | Pentagon closes review of deadly Niger ambush MORE (R-N.Y.), who is Jewish, introduced a resolution last month condemning anti-Semitism that specifically cites previous comments from Omar and Tlaib about Israel.

Omar had previously come under fire over a 2012 tweet amid the Gaza War in which she wrote: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.”

Omar backtracked last month, writing in a tweet, "It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy is disavowing the anti-semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive."