Netanyahu hits back at Omar: Support for Israel is about shared values, not 'the Benjamins'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday pushed back against comments made by Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump to return to North Carolina to stump for special election candidate Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (D-Minn.), who had drawn bipartisan criticism after saying that politicians' support for Israel was "all about the Benjamins."

"From this Benjamin, it's not about the Benjamins," Netanyahu said in a speech delivered through a video call at a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). "The reason ... is not because they want our money. It's because they share our values." 

ADVERTISEMENT

"It's because America and Israel share a love of freedom and democracy. It's because we cherish individual rights and the rule of law," he added in a speech laden with praise for President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE. "We don't judge people by the color of their skin, their religion or their sexual orientation."

Omar responded to Netanyahu's remarks on Tuesday, tweeting about allegations of corruption against the prime minister that have dogged him amid his bid for reelection next month.

Multiple reports have indicated Netanyahu is going to be indicted on fraud and bribery charges connected to alleged dealings with an Israeli news site. 

Omar stoked controversy with her February remarks, which critics said invoked anti-Semitic tropes. She later apologized for the tweet, saying she meant to criticize the influence of the Israel lobby. She raised more controversy later when she said that such groups push for "allegiance" to a foreign country, referencing AIPAC. Critics said her remark invoked a harmful "dual loyalty" claim against American Jews.