Congresswoman Omar hits back at Netanyahu


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Tuesday to pass legislation strengthening the US commitment to Israel's national security, as a show of bipartisan support for Israel.

"I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country", Omar said at a progressive town hall meeting earlier this month, referring to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "it's not about the Benjamins" as he hit back on Tuesday against any suggestion that US politicians are paid to support Israel.

"Take it from this Benjamin: It's not about the Benjamins!"

In the 10-minute speech hampered by some minor broadcast glitches, US President Donald Trump was praised for his recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights "on behalf of all the people of Israel", Netanyahu said.

She fires back. Omar not only criticized Pelosi for her comments - portraying her support of the anti-Semitic BDS movement as a free speech issue - but she did so by turning the Speaker's own words against her.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who spoke after Netanyahu, remarked that the anti-Semitism that had been on the political fringes has alarmingly become mainstream.

"Those who seek to defame this great organization, AIPAC, those who seek to undermine American support for Israel, they must be confronted", Netanyahu said.

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Netanyahu had cut short his visit to Washington on Monday after rocket attacks near Tel Aviv hit a home, injuring seven Israelis.

AIPAC supports $3.8bn a year in United States military aid to Israel and is pushing for legislation in Congress that would penalise those who support the BDS Movement, a pro-Palestinian global effort to pressure Israel through boycotts, sanctions and divestment.

On Tuesday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said "to be anti-Semitic is to be anti-American".

Without mentioning Ms. Omar by name, Mrs. Pelosi denounced questioning the loyalty of Jewish or pro-Israel lawmakers. It's part of our history ... and we shall never, ever give it up.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made his position on Israel very clear by going on record to say anti-Zionism is the same as anti-Semitism.

"White supremacist violence is on the rise globally. I've criticized it because it has repeatedly opposed efforts to guarantee peace and human rights in the region", posted Omar on social media. To quell the backlash, House Democrats voted on a resolution to condemn all hate speech.

Support for Israel has proven to be a sensitive subject in USA politics, with politicians on both sides equating overt criticism of the world's only majority-Jewish state to veiled anti-Semitism.