When Congresswoman Ilhan Omar circulated on twitter the single word “Benjamins”, she was simply stating what we all know to be true and what scholars have shown to be the case: our current politics are dominated by money and those with access to large amounts of it.
This is an uncontroversial fact, having nothing to do with religion, race or ethnicity. On this basis, Omar’s observation was in no way anti-semitic, something which many Jews have subsequently attested to and insisted on.
Rather, the charge of anti-semitism was circulated by three figures, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who routinely pocket millions of “Benjamins” by providing access and favors to major lobbies including but by no means limited to AIPAC.
As has frequently been the case, the charge of anti-semitism was issued in bad faith by these and other congressional leaders seeking to obscure their own complicity in the corrupt arrangements which Omar’s tweet highlights.
Accompanying their charge was the usual demand that Congresswoman Omar apologize.
As noted in 2, Congresswoman Omar stated an obvious and uncontroversial truth and has nothing to apologize for.
Rather, it is Congresswoman Omar who should receive an unambiguous and unconditional apology from congressional leaders who, rather than nurture and support a newly elected member, participated in an attempt to smear her reputation.
Their apologies to Congresswoman Omar should be only the beginning of those they should be extending to the Democratic Party and to the American people. It was, after all, their abject failures in leadership which led directly to the loss of over 1000 Democratic seats to the Republicans and to the unparalled environment, economic and social crises now being confronted by the most vulnerable populations here and abroad.