Free pass for Israel? Ilhan Omar notes silence after Israeli group linked to fake news operation targeting Muslim US congresswomen

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An Israeli group uses social media to vilify the first two Muslim women to serve in US Congress, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. But will the revelation spark accusations of foreign meddling? Omar doesn’t seem to think so.

An investigation by the Guardian has uncovered an Israeli-based operation that uses 21 Facebook pages to pump out thousands of fake news posts per week. The paper said that the social media posts “inflame Islamophobia for profit” and have directly mentioned Omar more than 1,400 times, and Tlaib nearly 1,200 times, since the operation began two years ago.The Israeli group is accused of sharing “distorted news and pure fabrication” on far-right Facebook pages that catered to audiences in the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, Austria, Israel, and Nigeria.

The Guardian was able to track down a man linked to the operation who lived outside Tel Aviv. He insisted, however, that he was not involved in the scheme. Large amounts of content from the pages were taken down after he was approached for comment.In a statement, Omar said that the report highlighted a clear example of “foreign interference” in US domestic affairs.

These are malicious actors operating in a foreign country, Israel, spreading misinformation and hate speech to influence elections in the United States.

She expressed doubt, however, that the scandal would receive as much attention as the media’s infatuation with other alleged “meddling” operations.

Omar, a Democrat representing Minnesota, and Tlaib, her colleague from Michigan, are among a handful of US lawmakers who are outspoken critics of Israel. Tlaib has family who live in Palestine and was briefly denied entry by Israel. Tel Aviv later reversed its decision but Tlaib ended up canceling the trip, claiming that the Israeli government had attached “oppressive conditions” to her travel plans. Her colleague, Omar, was accused of anti-Semitism after calling out Israel’s powerful and well-funded lobbying efforts in Washington.

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