Omar’s anti-Semitic tweets deleted, but sentiment remains

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By Mitzpeh staff
@Mitzpeh

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN05) is a freshman congresswoman serving as one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Kristie Boyd/Wikimedia Commons.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN05) deleted tweets Tuesday that played into anti-Semitic tropes, after apologizing two weeks earlier after condemnation from fellow lawmakers.

The Democratic congresswoman tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” on February 10, suggesting that American politicians’ support for Israel was because of the money. Her tweet hankers back to the long-held anti-Semitic notion that politics are controlled by Jewish money.

After receiving backlash from other congressional representatives, Omar posted an apology on Twitter on February 11.

“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar wrote. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole.”

Although Omar’s tweets are gone 15 days later, her words are not forgotten. Today, Jews in the U.S. may not suffer nearly as much as our ancestors during times of persecution, but anti-Semitism still exists. Remarks like Omar’s tweet, just months following the tragic Pittsburgh shooting, are disturbing reminders that anti-Semitism is still here—and sometimes, it’s rampant.

Watching politicians, the most influential actors in our nation, spread economic anti-Semitism is particularly problematic. When anti-Semitic sentiments are present in society, it is an issue. When this sentiment lies in those making our policies, it is dangerous.

Social media amplifies the problem even more. Omar’s tweets ricocheted throughout the nation, harnessing the attention of politicians and ordinary citizens alike. Her alarming words serve as a wake-up call for us all; economic anti-Semitism is not an anachronism.

Economic anti-Semitism dates back to the Middle Ages. In 2015, the Anti-Defamation League cited 11 of the most common anti-Semitic stereotypes, including Jewish power in business, international finance and U.S. politics.

According to the 2015 survey, 38% of respondents said that it’s “probably true” that Jews have too much power in the business world and 27% said the same of Jewish involvement in the U.S. government.

The hatred does not go unnoticed. Both as Jews and as journalists, we must continue to seek and promote the truth, for it is our strongest weapon against modern anti-Semitism.

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