Ilhan Omar Quietly Deletes Some of Her Past Anti-Semitic Tweets

Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar / Getty Images
February 26, 2019

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) deleted tweets this week containing some of her publicly anti-Semitic comments after having apologized for her words but not her views.

In early February, Omar made a series of ill-advised tweets concerning Jewish Americans, the state of Israel, and the United States government.

Omar peddled in anti-Semitic stereotypes, mischaracterized a pro-Israel lobbying group, and garnered praise from the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. She shared a tweet from far-left journalist Glenn Greenwald, who claimed Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) was "defending a foreign nation" and "attacking free speech rights of Americans."

In reply, Omar claimed elected officials acted for Israel out of financial interest. "It's all about the Benjamins baby," she said. The reference is to $100 bills, which have Benjamin Franklin's face on each.

Batya Ungar-Sargon, opinion editor of the liberal publication The Forward, has staunchly defended Omar's comments in the past but criticized her in this case. Ungar-Sargon called it "the second anti-Semitic trope you've tweeted" and asked who would be "paying American politicians to be pro-Israel."

Omar replied, "AIPAC!" That tweet is now gone.

In another 2012 tweet, Omar accused Israel of having "hypnotized" the world. It has also been deleted.

Omar later agreed that her comments were anti-Semitic, and offered an "unequivocal" apology. In the same apology, she returned to her critique of AIPAC. And though she deleted the offending tweet, her Twitter page still hosts several retweets of others claiming her original comments were not anti-Semitic.

In another tweet from the early February controversy, Omar claimed the strong reaction to her tweets, which she herself called anti-Semitic, were really "smears" against her.

During her congressional campaign, Omar spoke in a Minnesota synagogue and claimed to oppose anti-Israel measures, including the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Immediately after she won election to the House, Omar came out in support of BDS.

Since the uproar, Omar has deleted tweets, but not publicly changed any of her views on Jews or the Jewish state.