Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “it’s not about the Benjamins” as he hit back on Tuesday against any suggestion that US politicians are paid to support Israel.
A tweet in February by Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar, a freshman legislator from Minnesota, was widely seen as echoing an anti-Semitic slur that Jews influence governments through money.
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar wrote, using a slang term for $100 bills. She subsequently apologized, saying she was grateful for “Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history” of anti-Semitic references.
Netanyahu, addressing a Washington convention of the pro-Israel lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), said via satellite from Tel Aviv: “Some people will just never get it. They’ll never understand why the vast majority of Americans - Jews and non-Jews alike - support Israel.”
He did not mention Omar by name.
“Take it from this Benjamin: it’s not about the Benjamins,” Netanyahu said. “The reason the people of America support Israel is not because they want our money, it’s because they share our values.”
A few hours later, Omar responded on Twitter: “This from a man facing indictments for bribery and other crimes in three separate public corruption affairs. Next!”
🤔 This from a man facing indictments for bribery and other crimes in three separate public corruption affairs.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 26, 2019