NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A newly elected Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives is being widely denounced for suggesting members of Congress are being paid to stand with Israel.
Her fellow politicians in the Tri-state area are now speaking out against the alleged anti-Semitic remarks.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s comments – strongly condemned from leaders around the country – including those in her own party like New Jersey’s Josh Gottheimer.
“It’s a historic anti-Semitic trope about greed and money related to Jews and I think that’s what set many of us off,” Rep. Gottheimer said.
The tweet by the Capitol Hill newcomer suggested American support for Israel is fueled by money, while implying the powerful pro-Israel lobby group known as AIPAC had bought the support of her colleagues in Congress.
The outrage from New York Democrats was immediate. Sen. Chuck Schumer wrote “this kind of intolerance has no place in Congress or anywhere in American society.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted his condemnation of Omar as well.
Omar is one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress and supports BDS – a movement that calls for a boycott of Israel until property is returned to Palestinians.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with Omar and called her latest comments anti-Semitic and deeply offensive.
After that, Omar issued an apology that seems to still double-down on her previous comments.
“Anti-Semitism is real… This is why I unequivocally apologize. At the same time I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA, or the fossil fuel industry.”
After tweeting Omar’s initial comments were, “deeply hurtful to Jews including myself,” freshman Congressman Max Rose of New York reacted to the Democrat’s apology.
“It’s time we move on from this, we unite and we focus on how we can build a better country… She’s a friend, I take her at her word,” Rep. Rose said.
This isn’t the first time Omar has had to apologize for offensive comments. In 2012, she wrote “Israel has hypnotized the world.”
Political science professor Alain Sanders says she cannot be given a pass for her language.
“One of the things a politician really wants to do to be successful is have maneuverability. I’m afraid she has limited that by the statements she made today and the statements she has made in the past.”
CBS2’s Jessica Layton called AIPAC to get reaction to the comments. A spokesman referred her to what they had tweeted Sunday night which said in part, “we will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work.”