Here’s how the pro-Israel lobby — criticized by Ilhan Omar — stacks up against other Washington influencers | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Here’s how the pro-Israel lobby — criticized by Ilhan Omar — stacks up against other Washington influencers

Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar sparked an outcry after the Minnesota Democrat said Sunday that support for Israel on Capitol Hill is driven by campaign contributions. She apologized on Monday, but continued to say that one prominent pro-Israel group’s role in U.S. politics was “problematic.”

The pro-Israel lobby is a significant player in terms of political donations, contributing $14.9 million in the 2018 election cycle, according to data from OpenSecrets.org, a website tracking money in politics that’s run by a nonpartisan research group, the Center for Responsive Politics.

The center ranks this lobby as the 50th-biggest spender in the last cycle — well behind the securities and investment industry at No. 1 with its $399 million, as well as lagging the electronics industry at No. 19 with its $57 million.

Pro-Israel interest groups have definite clout, according to Ben Freeman, author of “The Foreign Policy Auction” and director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy, a think tank. “It would be hard to say that the Israel lobby is not one of the most influential lobbies in D.C.,” Freeman told MarketWatch. “I don’t think anybody would disagree with that, whether they think it’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

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