NEW YORK CITY (JTA) — In a brief confidential conference call with Jewish organizations, Rep. Ilhan Omar apologized for any hurt caused by her tweets suggesting that AIPAC pays politicians to support Israel.
“Let me reiterate my sincere apology for any actual hurt my words have caused,” Omar, a freshman Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, said on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 19, according to someone present on the call. “I know there are a lot of people who in the last weeks have expressed support in trying to say this isn’t anti-Semitic or this shouldn’t be looked at in that way.”
Omar came under fire last week for posting successive tweets suggesting that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby, pays politicians to be pro-Israel. Democratic and Republican leaders condemned the tweets as echoing anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews, money and power. The allegation is also false, as AIPAC does not donate to candidates or endorse them.
Omar subsequently apologized for the tweets.
The call Tuesday included a range of centrist and liberal Jewish groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, the refugee resettlement agency HIAS, Americans for Peace Now and Bend the Arc.
Omar kept her remarks brief but promised to meet face to face with the groups in the near future.
She said the call was an opportunity “for you all to directly hear from me how I feel about my actions and for us to start the process of not only healing but building a relationship and getting to the process of politicking on our viewpoints on this.”
Omar said it is up to the Jewish community to define anti-Semitism.
“I do not want to give space or energy to anyone who wants to minimize the hurt,” she said.