12:48 GMT16 January 2021
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    Reflecting on the growing outrage over allegedly anti-Semitic remarks made by Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, journalist and filmmaker Dan Cohen told Sputnik that the smear campaign against the lawmaker is all part of a "totally manufactured controversy."

    "[There is] nothing remotely controversial about what [the] congresswoman tweeted," Cohen told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Tuesday. "She said AIPAC pays money to Congress in order to bolster support for Israel, and that is absolutely true. That's not controversial at all.

    "So what we're seeing is a smear campaign that's not only racist and Islamophobic… and it's not only coming from Republican Party… but also from the establishment inside the Democratic Party," he continued.

    ​Omar recently was on the receiving end of a series of critiques from officials within the political establishment, who deemed the congresswoman's tweets, which suggested that lobbyists at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) are paying US lawmakers to be pro-Israel, anti-Semitic.

    The series of tweets began over the weekend as Omar responded to a tweet from The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald, who pointed out how GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was threatening to punish Omar and fellow freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) for criticizing Israel.

    Later, when Batya Ungar-Sargon, opinion editor at The Forward, asked who Omar thought was "paying American politicians to be pro-Israel," the politician responded with "AIPAC!" And with that, a chorus of condemnation was brought forth.

    A joint statement from the Democratic leadership stated, "Anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned whenever it is encountered, without exception," noting that Omar's alleged employment of "anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel's supporters is deeply offensive."

    But, according to Cohen, "there's nothing anti-Semitic" about Omar's remarks.

    "The central irony on this entire manufactured controversy is the idea that AIPAC, which is a lobbying group, is equal to Jews, [which] is an anti-Semitic concept in itself. And it shows that the political class doesn't actually care about Jews or anti-Semitism and will only exploit it to further their political ambitions," he told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.

    "What we saw is the opening shot of what's going to be a long-term campaign through the election season to stifle the kind of insurgent wing of the Democratic Party."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Ilhan Omar, US
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