Trump calls for Ilhan Omar's resignation for criticising pro-Israel lobby
US President Donald Trump called for Rep. Ilhan Omar to resign after she tweeted that lawmakers were being paid by a powerful pressure group to support Israel.
Trump called Democrat Omar's apology "lame," while also alleging that the congresswoman's remarks were motivated by antisemitism.
In a pair of tweets over the weekend, the Minnesota Democrat, who is one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, criticised the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. "It's all about the Benjamins baby," she wrote, using slang for $100 bills.
Asked on Twitter who she thought was paying members of Congress to support Israel, Omar responded, "AIPAC!"
Trump told reporters at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that "anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress".
"I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. What she said is so deep-seated in her heart," he said.
He added that her apology was "lame and she didn't mean a word of it".
Omar said she had no intention of offending anyone, including Jewish-Americans, when she insinuated that lobbyists were paying lawmakers to support Israel. She "unequivocally" apologised.
AIPAC's financial influence on US politics is not a new topic, with the New York Times' Thomas Friedman writing about the subject in 2011.
"I hope that Israel's prime minister understands that standing ovation he got in Congress this year wasn't for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby."
AIPAC is one of many in a sizeable pro-Israel lobby which includes a number of groups. Just recently, AIPAC backed the Combating BDS Act which 77 of 100 senators voted for.
"Traditionally, AIPAC is known to make or break politicians and political candidates in the United States," Dr. Tamara Kharroub, a Senior Analyst and Assistant Executive Director at Arab Center Washington DC, told The New Arab.
"Although many of them may not have any interest in or knowledge about Israel, they know too well that supporting Israel and voting with AIPAC is career security and they know better than to upset this powerful lobby and commit political suicide."