Ilhan Omar is again being accused of anti-Semitism & her own party wants to discipline her
Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is catching more flack for comments in which she yet again questioned why American politics are so soft on Israel. According to Vox, last week Omar was on a panel about the Israel-Palestine conflict alongside Rep. Rashida Talib, who like Omar is a freshman congresswoman and a Muslim. “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Omar said, although she was not specific on who is influencing politics.
New York Magazine‘s Jonathan Chait accused Omar of “directly invoking the hoary myth of dual loyalty, in which the Americanness of Jews is inherently suspect,” and conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens called her comment “blatantly anti-Semitic.”
The outcry led House Democrats to plan a vote on a resolution which is clearly intended as a public rebuke of the freshman Congresswoman. The resolution criticized the “insidious, bigoted history” related to “accusations of dual loyalty.” However, the planned resolution vote hit a snag when some Democrats and Jewish leftists came to the defense of Omar.
In this administration + all others, we should actively check antisemitism, anti-blackness, homophobia, racism, and all other forms of bigotry.
And the most productive end goal when we see it is to educate and heal.
It’s the difference btwn “calling in” before “calling out.”
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
A broad coalition of leftist Jews are also choosing to stand with Omar, releasing a statement on the website Jews With Ilhan. “There is no denying that money rules U.S. politics, and that powerful lobbies from the NRA to the fossil fuel lobby to AIPAC play destructive, anti-democratic roles in our political system, wielding money for legislative influence,” the statement reads. “The pro-Israel lobby has played an outsized role in producing nearly unanimous congressional support for Israel. It has organized a national campaign to suppress Palestinian activism on campuses, made the Israel Anti-Boycott Act a legislative priority, and for decades has boasted about their power to make or break political careers. To point out this reality is not anti-Semitic.”
Representative Omar was also recently the target of the West Virginia Legislature’s Republicans, who put up a violently Islamophobic poster last week connecting Omar to the 9-11 hijackers. Notably, there has been very little backlash to their actions, while Omar’s relatively tame comments on the American interest of backing Israel incessantly has received much fanfare in the media. The criticism of this double standard seems to be enough to delay the House resolution and may be enough to force them to rewrite the resolution entirely.
As Vox reports, this specter of anti-Semitism frequently comes up whenever anyone is critical of Israel and the way that American interests seem to always give them the benefit of the doubt. This is even true for Jewish people who intensely question this practice. However, many point out that criticisms of Representative Omar are coming largely because she is an outspoken brown-skinned Muslim woman, and is thinly veiled Islamophobia. It has to be called out just as much as this supposed anti-Semitism is being called out.