Omar deletes tweets at center of anti-Semitism controversy

Omar deletes tweets at center of anti-Semitism controversy
© Stefani Reynolds

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar controversy has not shifted Jews away from Dem Party, left-leaning Jewish advocate says Jewish voters share Dem values, says left-leaning Jewish advocate Omar slams U.S. war in Iraq on anniversary of invasion MORE (D) has deleted two tweets criticizing the influence of a pro-Israel lobbying group following a storm of controversy over the tweets and accusations from some Democrats and Republicans that the messages were anti-Semitic.

The tweets were gone from Omar's Twitter account, @IlhanMN, on Tuesday, though Twitter users began pointing out the deletions as early as Sunday, according to USA Today.

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In the two messages, Omar wrote that U.S. politicians' defense of Israel's government in the political square was "all about the Benjamins baby," while adding that AIPAC was responsible for funding lawmakers who support pro-Israel policy when questioned on her stance.

AIPAC does not directly donate to candidates, though its members include many prominent political donors.

Omar's office did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday from The Hill on the deletions. She previously apologized for the tweets, asserting that her message was not meant as anti-Semitic while acknowledging that the remarks had offended some Jewish people.

"My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole," Omar said following the backlash. "We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize."

"At the same time, 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," she added.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel criticized Omar over the deletions on Monday. In a tweet, she accused the "boycott, divestment and sanctions" (BDS) movement, which Omar supports and encourages corporations and governments to avoid business with Israel over its government's treatment of Palestinians, of being rooted in anti-Semitism.

"Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar is deleting her anti-Semitic tweets. But deleting tweets doesn’t change that she still supports the anti-Semitic BDS movement to boycott and delegitimize Israel," McDaniel tweeted.