(JTA) — It’s “ridiculous” to doubt that Jews like money, popular podcaster Joe Rogan said on his show on Saturday.
Rogan was discussing the 2019 tweet by Rep. Ilhan Omar in which she wrote that pro-Israel votes in Congress were “all about the Benjamins.” That tweet, for which she has apologized, was one of several statements House Republicans pointed to when they removed her last week from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
But Rogan defended the statement on his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.” The show attracts some 11 million listeners per episode, according to an estimate last year in Time magazine, and is the most popular podcast on Spotify’s platform.
“She’s talking about money,” Rogan said about Omar. “It’s not an antisemitic statement, I don’t think that is. Benjamins are money. You know, the idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza. It’s f—ing stupid. It’s f—ing stupid.”
Rogan has come under fire in the past for hosting far-right guests, providing a platform for misinformation about COVID-19 and repeatedly using the N-word. (He apologized for the latter last year.) A number of major artists removed themselves from Spotify last year because of its relationship with the Rogan, who signed a deal with the platform in 2020 worth more than $100 million.
Omar apologized for her tweet in 2019 following criticism from both parties. She did so again ahead of a party-line vote to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee, telling CNN that she had not been aware at the time of the tropes about Jews and money. The same day she was removed, she co-sponsored a resolution supporting Israel and condemning antisemitism.
“I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money,” she said on CNN last week. “That has been a very enlightening part of this journey. I voted for every single resolution — no Republican can say that — condemning antisemitism.”