Anti-Semitism is Not Progressive

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic beliefs set us back two-thousand years.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) at a Twin Cities Pride Parade in Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 24, 2018. (Photo: Tony Webster)

Take Your Anti-Semitism to Work Day

If notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan tells you not to apologize, as he recently told Rep. Ilhan Omar, saying: “Sweetheart, don’t do that. … You have nothing to apologize for,” you know you need to apologize.

If former KKK grand wizard David Duke adoringly calls you, “the most important member in congress,” you’re in serious trouble.

Being anti-Semitic is the opposite of what they say about being rich and powerful; if you constantly have to tell people you aren’t, you are.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), as predicted, simply cannot keep her anti-Semitic attitudes in check and faces another, and another, rebuke from her fellow Democrats, many of whom happen to be Jewish themselves.

“This episode is especially disappointing following so closely on another instance of Ms. Omar seeming to invoke an anti-Semitic stereotype. Her comments were outrageous and deeply hurtful, and I ask that she retract them, apologize, and commit to making her case on policy issues without resorting to attacks that have no place in the Foreign Affairs Committee or the House of Representatives.” — chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.)

Rep. Engel’s request that Omar confine herself to policy issues seems reasonable enough, and he isn’t alone in his suggestion that Omar use the opportunity as a learning experience.

“I urge her to retract this statement and engage in further dialogue with the Jewish community on why these comments are so hurtful.” — Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)

How does freshman Rep. Omar respond to her fellow House Democrats, some of whom have been serving in Congress almost as long as she’s been alive?

“Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that!” — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D- MN)

Did Omar not expect to learn anything from senior members of Congress?

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote a letter to Speaker Pelosi earlier this week calling for a condemnation of Omar’s latest anti-Semitic comments.

The letter was very much like the one he wrote about Rep. Steve King (R-OH) in October 2018. Republicans responded: King has since been stripped of all committee assignments and, rendered powerless, continues his lame-duck term only because he is too selfish to resign. He will not be reelected.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), preparing a response and rebuke of Omar, instead bowed to pressure from other members to water down the condemnation of anti-Semitism resolution so thoroughly as to render it a meaningless blanket condemnation of hate.

That is nice and everything; but this is an issue about anti-Semitism, which is specific and actionable; not about hate, which is too broad to be actionable.

In a textbook case of whataboutism, Rep. Omar and her defenders have been quick to excuse Omar’s comments in light of the prejudice she herself experiences, scapegoating an admittedly ugly incident of a poster linking Omar to 9/11 that appeared in the Virginia statehouse recently and led one GOP official to resign.

That is terrible, and should be addressed, the way a resolution condemning Islamaphobia was passed after 9/11; but this is an issue with anti-Semitism.

Specially, a single member’s well-documented anti-Semitism about which, even now, she remains unrepentant.

Further emboldening Omar, she is strongly supported by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and now by the House Democratic whip, James Clyburn of South Carolina.

The Teachable Moment…Was at the Town Hall

She failed.

No teaching at the town hall, only in the halls of Congress?

Total stranger at a random town-hall: “How very interesting, tell me more.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “Shut up.”

Seems like a bit of a disconnection there. The moment the question was raised; that was the teachable moment. Rep. Ilhan Omar had an opportunity to use her influence to take the conversation in a more positive direction.

What, there is no positive direction? Nonsense.

If you believe the Israel/Palestine issue is cut and dried, black and white, good versus evil, you haven’t bothered to study it at all. And you watch too many movies. Omar could have said a million other things.

She didn’t.

Instead she chose to parrot the age-old dual-loyalty canard that countries have historically used to rid their societies of Jews. For a while, they stopped at just deporting Jewish people.

For a while.

How Anti-Semitism is Revealed

Which is what makes it anti-Semitic.

Give these so-called progressive liberals like Ilhan Omar and AOC an Iran or a Maduro, they’re lambs. Mention Israel, they’re lions. This is a problem.

It is also a very strait-forward issue for House Democrats: Condemning a specific member’s anti-Semitic comments.

Democrats need to censure Omar, by name, clearly and in the strongest possible terms. House Democrats can either do this now, and remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, or wait until she makes her next ridiculous statement about the unique nefariousness of Jews.

Jewish voters, and right-thinking individuals of every religion and no religion everywhere, would prefer now.

The Dreaded Primary Challenge

Between a Rock and a Soft Spot

Ilhan Omar Rips Obama’s ‘Really Bad Policies’ On Immigration, Drones: The congresswoman argued that President Donald Trump’s predecessors “also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was.”

Will prominent Democrats and the press condemn Rep. Omar or condemn former President Barack Obama?

More importantly, when will Democrats realize just how much anti-Semitism is costing their reputation as the party of liberal progressives?

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store