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"Legitimate criticism of Israel's policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share", Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the Democratic leadership said in a statement.

The idea that it's "Jewish money" or "the Jewish lobby" or AIPAC that's the main reason Republicans have moved in this direction is an absolutely ideal distraction from the real reasons, and one that furthers the argument that you have to choose between Netanyahu, settlements, and Greater Israel on the one hand, or anti-Semitism on the other.

I very recently defended Omar and her fellow Muslim representative, Rashida Tlaib, against McCarthy's attacks, but I can not countenance her attribution of pro-Israeli attitudes, within and beyond the Republican Party, to the "Jewish lobby", however it's defined. They added, "We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments".

Omar responded: "It's all about the Benjamins baby", followed by a musical note emoji.

"We must speak out when any Member - Democrat or Republican - uses harmful tropes and stereotypes, levels accusations of dual loyalty, or makes reckless statements like those yesterday", the letter states, a clear reference to Omar's tweets over the weekend in which she questioned the financial relationship between AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby, and members of Congress. At the same time, she said, "I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry".

"It's now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy in disavowing the anti-Semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive", she tweeted last month.

There is a reason that Ilhan Omar has resorted to anti-Semitic tropes in the the course of her brief public career so far.

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McCarthy had said that statements by Omar and Tlaib - which many believe have crossed the line into anti-Semitism - were on par and "more so" with the racist rhetoric coming from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who's been stripped of his committee assignments. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., issued a similar statement, and other Democrats weren't bashful in calling Omar out.

Democratic House lawmakers and former government officials are characterizing recent comments from one of their rising stars, Omar of Minnesota, as antisemitic.

Democrats, who had previously been reluctant to criticize Omar, joined in after Sunday's tweets.

When challenged where she thought such money was coming from, the 36-year-old Somali-American tweeted back: "Aipac". She has called the efforts to paint her as an anti-Semite a smear. "'Now I shall double down on my anti-Semitic comments, but word them slightly differently'".

McCarthy urged Democratic leaders to admonish Omar and Tlaib for their backing of the BDS movement, which is meant to put economic pressure on Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank.

Max Rose, who won a tight race in NY, said the Democratic Party and the USA should be a place where "we celebrate the diversity of our people".