Ilhan Omar hits back at Benjamin Netanyahu for attack during AIPAC speech: 'This from a man facing bribery indictments'

Chris Riotta

Ilhan Omar has hit back at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he rebuked her comments about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

The freshman Democrat responded to a line from the prime minister’s speech at an event held by the lobbying group in which he appeared to rebuke her statement that stirred controversy and forced an anti-Semitism resolution in the US House of Representatives.

“This from a man facing indictments for bribery and other crimes in three separate public corruption affairs,” the congresswoman wrote in a tweet, referring to Netanyahu. “Next!” she added.

Her tweet arrived after Netanyahu delivered remarks at the group’s annual policy conference via live satellite that condemned her past comments without mentioning the Democrat by name.

“Take it from this Benjamin,” he began, “It’s not about the Benjamins.”

Ms Omar criticised AIPAC in a series of tweets last month, writing, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

Asked on Twitter who she thought was paying members of Congress to support Israel, the lawmaker responded, “AIPAC!”

That sparked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s first public rebuke of a freshman lawmaker who had helped flip the House from Republican control and is part of a record number of women in Congress.

“Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive,” Ms Pelosi said in a statement issued by her office and signed by other Democratic leaders after a bipartisan backlash against the Minnesota Democrat. “We condemn these remarks, and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologise for these hurtful comments.”

Republicans have called on Democrats to strip Ms Omar of her seat on the House Foreign Relations Committee, but Chairman Eliot Engel stopped just short of that. He said in a statement that he expects his committee members to discuss policies on merits. And though he did not name Ms Omar, he left little doubt that his statement was a response to her tweets.

“It’s shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money,’” Mr Engel said.

Donald Trump also said the freshman congresswoman “should be ashamed of herself” for the tweets.

“I think it was a terrible statement, and I don’t think her apology was adequate,” he said. Asked what she should have said, Mr Trump replied: “She knows what to say.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report