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By Allan Smith
Freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress last fall — is accused of sending a string of “anti-Semitic” tweets regarding the Israeli lobby in the U.S.
Omar, a proponent of the BDS — Boycott, Divest and Sanctions — movement aimed at putting economic and political pressure on Israel over its treatment of Palestinians, first tweeted Sunday night that money was driving U.S. politicians to defend Israel.
She then tweeted that AIPAC — The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee — was paying politicians to support Israel.
Omar, a Somalian refugee, came under fire from some Democrats.
AIPAC, a non-profit that does not donate directly to candidates but works to promote a staunchly pro-Israel message in Washington, D.C., responded to Omar, tweeting that it is “proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the US-Israel relationship.”
“Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests,” the group’s tweet continued. “We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work.”
Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, tweeted that she would reach out to Omar’s office on Monday to discuss “anti-Semitic tropes.” Omar tweeted that she would be happy to chat with Clinton.
Omar was originally responding in her earliest tweet to criticism from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy over her prior comments regarding Israel. McCarthy and other Republicans have called on Democratic leadership to “take action” regarding Omar and fellow Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, another recently elected Muslim woman, over their criticism of Israel. McCarthy compared it to Republicans having taken action regarding the racist remarks made by Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa.
Omar is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
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Trump snubs John McCain during bill signing intended to honor him
WASHINGTON — Congress wanted to honor the ailing Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. President Donald Trump did not.
In extended remarks during a visit to Fort Drum in upstate New York to sign the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 — this year’s version of an annual bill that sets defense policy — Trump chose not to mention the former prisoner of war and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman who is battling brain cancer. He even omitted McCain’s name when citing the title of the bill.
The two men have long been fierce critics of each other, with McCain calling Trump’s supporters “crazies” in 2015 and Trump retaliating by questioning whether McCain, who was subjected to torture in a Vietnamese prison camp, is really a “war hero” because “he was captured.”
The snub at Fort Drum, home to the combat aviation brigade of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, did not escape the notice of McCain’s allies.
“For those asking did I expect Trump to be an a—— today. No more than I expected it to be Monday,” Mark Salter, McCain’s longtime aide, wrote on Twitter.
McCain’s condition — dire enough that a recent HBO documentary on him was titled “John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” — has not stopped Trump from deriding the Arizona senator at political rallies. Though Trump does not use his name, he tells crowds that he would have been able to repeal Obamacare if not for a thumbs-down sign from one senator — McCain.
The senator’s own statement included Trump’s name in the headline and in a preamble written by staff. But the words attributed to McCain did not.
“I’m very proud that the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 has been signed into law,” he said.
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