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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem March 10, 2019

    ‘It’s Not About The Benjamins’: Netanyahu, Omar Engage in Duel of Words

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    The Israeli prime minister weighed in on Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar’s controversial suggestions about Jews paying US lawmakers to politically support Tel Aviv, sparking a response from Omar herself.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) engaged in a surprising war of quips over Omar's insistence that Jewish organizations in the US pay US lawmakers to support Israel.

    Earlier in February, Omar made a post on her Twitter on the issue, writing: "It's all about the Benjamins baby."

    One month later, the Israeli prime minister issued a surprising response.

    "Take it from this Benjamin: It's not about the Benjamins!" the prime minister said via satellite link in his address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which is holding its policy conference in Washington this week.

    It is highly unusual for a long-standing foreign national leader to comment on a freshman US lawmaker's remarks regarding internal issues, USA Today notes.

    The prime minister's remark, naturally, got to Twitter, where it was met with yet another response from Omar.

    "This from a man facing indictments for bribery and other crimes in three separate public corruption affairs. Next!" Omar tweeted Tuesday.

    ​Netanyahu is facing three separate corruption and bribery charges in Israel for allegedly trading government concessions for favourable media coverage and for allegedly accepting gifts from wealthy business figures.

    Omar's comments about AIPAC and other US organizations paying US lawmakers for their support of Tel Aviv sparked a massive backlash from both US major parties and have been widely branded as anti-Semitic. Some observers noted that Omar's remarks and Democrats' unwillingness to call her out by name may push US Jews — traditionally predominantly Democratic voters — towards the Republicans led by US President Donald Trump.

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    Tags:
    anti-Semitism, lobbying, comments, American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Benjamin Netanyahu, Ilhan Omar, Israel, United States
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