“It’s Not About the Benjamins,” Netanyahu Says of U.S. Support for Israel

TEL AVIV (Reuters) -
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on a video from Israel to the 2019 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back on Tuesday against any suggestion that U.S. 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 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!”