A prominent pro-Israel lobbying group in the US broke ranks with the Jewish state — and President Trump — by opposing its decision to ban Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
“We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution,” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said in a statement.
“We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand,” AIPAC added.
Israel made the announcement shortly after Trump urged the country to bar the freshman Democrats from entering the country for a visit that was reported to include stops in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Omar has been critical of AIPAC and its influence in Washington – and got herself in hot water earlier this year by suggesting that GOP support of Israel is fueled by its donations.
In February, she tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” in reference to the lobby. Her remarks were assailed by Democrats and Republicans, with some saying they were anti-Semitic.
Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the annual AIPAC conference and condemned Omar’s comments, saying, “it’s not about the Benjamins” and that the “reason the people of America support Israel is not because they want our money, it’s because they share our values.”
Omar has apologized for her comment but reaffirmed what she called “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics,” including AIPAC.
The group was founded in 1963 with a mission of promoting the US-Israeli relationship.