Rep. Deb Haaland (D., N.M.) struggled to defend her fellow Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar (Minn.) Monday from charges of anti-Semitism, ultimately pleading ignorance about her string of controversial tweets.
Haaland initially answered a question from CNN host Kate Bolduan by accusing Republicans of greedily taking money from all kinds of suspect sources. This seemed to be echoing Omar’s accusation that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) buys support in Congress, which many took as thinly-veiled anti-Semitism.
"Sure, it's common knowledge that Republicans will—I mean, they do take campaign contributions from everything, everyone and every corporate PAC money and gas and oil industry money and all of these things," Haaland said. "I think that my colleague [Omar], she has decided not to take campaign contributions from some folks. I mean, look, it's not up to us to police what people say on Twitter, you know, with respect to that. I have never witnessed any of my colleagues promote or speak or, you know, allude to anti-Semitism."
This contradicts several Democrats who criticized Omar for peddling the common line of anti-Semites that Jews pay off Congress members to support Israel.
Bolduan pointed out that AIPAC isn’t a political action committee (PAC) that supports politicians and returned to the question of whether some Democrats are right to criticize Omar.
"Right. I mean, I don't have—I don't have a comment on that currently," Haaland said.
"Because you don’t thin the comment was anti-Semitic?" Bolduan asked.
Haaland then claimed she had not read the tweet and had only just now heard it
"What you read me—I did not read it, but what you just read me, it alludes to campaign contributions, it does not allude to anything else but that," Haaland said.
But it speaks to a long-standing veiled anti-Semitism that many folks have talked about over the years, about Jews running things because they have money," Bolduan said.
"Yeah, I don’t subscribe to that," Haaland said, as the interview ended. "I don’t subscribe to that."
Omar has made blasting Israel and supporting the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement a cornerstone of her political brand. Her original tweets about AIPAC were responding to the left-wing journalist Glenn Greenwald accusing Republicans of choosing Israel over free speech by opposing BDS.