Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Sunday praised Representative Ilhan Omar’s (D., Minn.) recent endorsement of an anti-Semitic trope and urged the freshman lawmaker not to bow to pressure from critics.
“Ms. Omar from Somalia – she started talking about ‘the Benjamins’ and they are trying to make her apologize. Sweetheart, don’t do that. Pardon me for calling you sweetheart, but you do have a sweet heart. You sure are using it to shake the government up, but you have nothing to apologize for,” Farrakhan said during his annual Saviour’s Day address in Chicago, in comments first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
“Israel and AIPAC pays off senators and congressmen to do their bidding, so you’re not lying. So if you’re not lying, stop laying down. You were sent there by the people to shake up that corrupt House,” he added.
Farrakhan, who has long engaged in anti-Semitic conspiracy-mongering, went on to mock Omar’s Democratic allies, who have defended her remarks as the result of inexperience and lack of knowledge regarding the historic plight of the Jewish people.
“‘Oh she’s just young. She just got here. Don’t be so hard on her,’” he said, mocking Omar’s defenders. “My beautiful sisters, you were sent there to shake that House up. Your people voted you in, but God is the overseer.”
Omar argued in a series of tweets sent last week that the pro-Israel stance held by many of her colleagues can be attributed to the nefarious influence of jewish donors and organizations, such as the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She subsequently apologized after being publicly urged to do so by Democratic leadership.
Since being elected in November, Omar has been confronted with allegations of anti-Semitism by critics who cite both her past tweets, one of which accused Israel of “hypnotizing the world,” and her more-recent statements and associations with noted anti-Semitic pro-Palestinian activists.
Farrakhan has managed to maintain ties with a number of prominent Democratic lawmakers and activists despite his extensive record of bigotry. Women’s March co-chair Tamikah Mallory was roundly criticized for praising Farrakhan as the “GOAT” or “greatest of all time” on social media following his 2018 Saviour’s Day address, during which he labeled Jews “satanic.”
“I didn’t call him the greatest of all time because of his rhetoric. I called him the greatest of all time because of what he’s done in black communities,” Mallory said during an appearance on ABC’s The View last month when asked about the Instagram post.