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Why Zionists are afraid of Ilhan Omar

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Over the past week, yet another recently-elected progressive congresswoman found herself in the eye of a media storm. On February 10, Somali-American Congresswoman Ilhan Omar retweeted a posting by American journalist Glenn Greenwald which criticised attacks on her and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for their support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, adding, "It's all about the Benjamins baby."

Shortly after Batya Ungar-Sargon, an editor at the Jewish periodical The Forward, asked Omar to clarify who, she was suggesting, pays US politicians, to which the congresswoman responded with a single word "AIPAC", referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

AIPAC is a right-wing Zionist lobby group, which, as it declares on its website, "advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States". As any other lobbyist operation, it raises funds and uses them to influence politicians. As an Al Jazeera documentary and other investigations have demonstrated, AIPAC leverages its large budget to gain influence over US politics. In this sense, there is nothing factually wrong about Omar's assertion.

Yet Ungar-Sargon was quick to charge Omar with "anti-Semitism", accusing her of peddling anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish conspiracies. A battle of accusations ensued, involving politicians in both the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as the Zionist and anti-Zionist Jewish advocacy groups.

Even US President Donald Trump became involved, hypocritically calling on Omar to resign, claiming "anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress".

After facing mounting pressure, Omar caved in and needlessly apologised for her comment. Once again, the US political establishment and the mainstream media demonstrated that they cannot tolerate progressive, anti-Zionist voices like Omar's and will persist in their relentless campaign to silence them with fake accusations of........

© Al Jazeera