It’s all About the Benjamins Baby
By: Haider Umar/Arab America Contributing Writer
Last week in Washington was action-packed, to say the least, Besides Trump’s sporadic national emergency scares, another debate was brewing, and it surrounded US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for speaking up against the undue influence the Pro-Israeli lobbyist groups have on our government. You’ll be surprised to find out that Ilhan was spot on with her claim that U.S. politics is in fact “All about the Benjamins Baby.”
“In short, AIPAC’s political operation is used precisely as Representative Omar suggested”-Rosenberg, a former AIPAC Employee.
For her, savvy comments about who or what organization dictates the flow of U.S. foreign agendas in the Middle East, Omar, was bashed in the media and social media as being an outright Anti-Semite. The situation intensified as pressure from the right winged journalists, news stations, and even congressional members mounted. Their demands were clear, Ilhan had to apologize.
Rep. Omar’s use of an anti-Semitic stereotype was offensive and irresponsible.
This kind of intolerance has no place in Congress—or anywhere in American society.
No one should invoke anti-Semitic tropes during policy disagreements.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 11, 2019
This demand for an apology came to Ilhan from her democratic party because of the public opinion surrounding the case which focused on Ilhan’s use of Anti-Sematic tropes related to Jews and money. This mounting outside pressure was felt by the Democrat’s as they were labeled the “Party of Hate” or an Anti-sematic party in news headlines, which effectively led them to pressure Omar into an apology for her actions that had represented the democratic party in a negative light.
We condemn these remarks, and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.” -House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
The Apology and Its Impact
NEW: @MaxRose4NY says it’s time to move on from Rep. Omar’s latest comment on Israel & money. (He was one of the first to call her out)
He also said GOP can’t be “chickenshit” when it comes to anti-Semitism either pic.twitter.com/7UII4toPGK
— Bo Erickson (@BoKnowsNews) February 11, 2019
With an apology now published, it is easy to see that Ilhan intentionally or unintentional has brought this very controversial topic onto the political platform of the United States. AIPAC’s methods in sawing congressional support are not a mystery like many other interest groups such as the NRA, PhRMA and big oil lobbies all have undue influence on American politics because of the way our system of government works.
Though Ilhan has brought light to this topic, it is not a new discussion. Political campaigning requires money, Advocacy requires money, venues require money, so it is absolutely bazar to think that money isn’t involved in shaping our political climate or that interest groups that provide the most money don’t have strings attached to its use.
The truth can be easily summarized if you follow the money, and Ilhan’s courage has opened this taboo topic up for discussion. The following is a quote from a former AIPAC employee, M.J. Rosenberg, who worked for AIPAC in the ’70s and ’80s; he confirmed Ilhan Omar’s controversial tweet concerning AIPAC.
Rosenberg explains how the actual money-handling goes on in the side rooms of the AIPAC conferences:
“AIPAC, of course, denies that anyone raises money at its policy conference. And it’s true. No one does… in the formal AIPAC rooms. However, there are also the side rooms, nominally independent of the main event but just down the hall, where candidates and invited donors (only the really wealthy donors get the invites) meet and decide which candidate will get what. This arrangement is almost a metaphor for the whole AIPAC fundraising operation. The side rooms are nominally not AIPAC, so AIPAC can deny that any fundraising takes place at their conference. But in fact, they are the most exclusive venues in the country for candidates to raise money in the name of advancing the AIPAC cause.”
This isn’t new news; it’s a fact
One example that comes to mind when you think about the Pro-Isreal lobbyist money being put to work can be seen in the first bill introduced to Congress after our most recent shutdown, S1. The Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, or in short S1. is a Bill sponsored by Marco Rubio, a Senior Republican Senator for Florida. Rubio is an interesting case because he is a beneficiary of the Pro-Isreal lobby who in 2015-2016 alone allocated a staggering $132,552, to Rubio’s campaign. Just as we mentioned before, money is never yielded for free, but it rather serves as an I-owe-you in American politics and thus here we are two into the future witnessing Rubio attempt to pass a bill in Congress that undermines American civil liberties and the right protest by enforcing State regulated penalties for those who support the BDS movement. This is clearly stated in the TITLE IV—COMBATING BDS ACT OF 2019 portion of the Bill.
This report should cause the American people to be outraged; the money that AIPAC dishes out to specific potential candidates and current Congressmen and women is a deliberate infraction on the rights and laws of our nation. We cannot just let such a blatant breach go unnoticed, and this is why we have to commend Rep. Omar for her valiant effort in getting the conversation started.
It’s epic that Ilhan, a former Somali refugee, in our congress is the one to shine a light on the dangers powerful lobbyist groups present. Such lobbyist groups are a danger to the civil liberties of our nation and humanitarian efforts around the world because they help silence the agony of the Palestinian people to keep Israeli sympathies high in the U.S, a truly atrocious act.
What is right shall and should not be condemned; we shouldn’t cower at the feet of those who have more money than us, as Americans our very first right protects our speech from being silenced, “We The people”, run the United States and we will not yield our rights to foreign interest lobbyist groups.
Israel and AIPAC are not the voice of the people of the United States, and no amount of dollars donated can change that ever. #WESTANDWITHILHAN