Is Rep. Ilhan Omar Finally Going Too Far for Jewish Democrats?

The controversial freshman Democrat from Minnesota has been raising ire with her anti-Semitic statements. Now, she’s cashing in.

Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks at MPAC National Congressional reception on January 29, 2019. (photo: MPAC National)

Too Far, Omar?

The freshman lawmaker has continuously made headlines during her brief time in office for a number of comments largely viewed by members of the Jewish community as anti-Semitic. While Rep. Omar has continuously and vociferously defended herself, denying any anti-Semitic intent both in the press and on social media, she has also continued to repeat problematic and offensive statements.

In between non-apology apologies she has seemed at times unrepentant, even defiant, accusing her critics of Islamophobia. House Democrats and Democratic leadership have faced continued criticism for what many see as their failure to properly censure Omar for her incendiary comments.

A recent resolution initially intended to condemn anti-Semitism was eventually altered to include other forms of discrimination. It failed to name Omar or her comments specifically did not appease those demanding a more definitive action.

Omar’s claims, echoed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, that she is unaware of the exact historical context of her words and the anti-Semitic undertone they carry, seem a bit hollow as it has emerged that the new legislator may understand the power of her words only too well.

Well enough to campaign on her anti-Semitism.

If you have a problem with Jewish special interest groups but not special interest groups with well-documented ties to terrorism, your problem isn’t with special interest groups.

It is with Jewish special interest groups.

Omar’s appearances at such events have been thus far closely guarded and shrouded in secrecy. The events have been completely closed to the press and excluded from media coverage. The content of any speeches Omar has been giving have also been kept private.

One such recent event, a private gathering held in Florida, was hosted by the innocuous-sounding interest group Islamic Relief. Another event is planned this weekend in California, which is quite far from Omar’s home district.

Islamic Relief has been banned in some countries for aiding extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas and was the subject of a congressional investigation in 2017.

CAIR PAC, CAIR, is a group well-known for its anti-Israel stance. It appears on a U.S. government list of organizations known to be funding Hamas and has been cited by the Anti-Defamation League for promoting an anti-Israel agenda.

“CAIR’s anti-Israel agenda dates back to its founding by leaders of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a Hamas affiliated anti-Semitic propaganda organization. While CAIR has denounced specific acts of terrorism in the U.S. and abroad, for many years it refused to unequivocally condemn Palestinian terror organizations and Hezbollah by name, which the U.S. and international community have condemned and isolated.” — ADL

The ADL has already repeatedly petitioned Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Leadership to condemn Rep. Omar’s comments on Israel; that they have failed to do seems to have emboldened Omar to further trade on and in anti-Semitism at every level.

Jewish Americans may feel caught between a rock and hard place as they choose between the openly anti-Semitic attitudes being increasingly embraced by progressive Democrats and the devisive figurehead of Donald Trump.

Omar’s defenders are hailing her as a hero with the courage to begin what they see as a necessary conversation about the pernicious influence of money on the political process in America.

Will Jewish Democrats be disappointed enough in these attitudes and in Democratic leadership to consider voting for Donald Trump in 2020? President Obama’s Israel policy drove many to vote for Mitt Romney in 2012.

But Donald Trump is not Mitt Romney.

Trump has made no secret of his support for Israel, as evidenced by his recent formal recognition of the Golan Heights region as sovereign Israeli territory and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Yet Trump is still seen by Jewish Democrats as a divisive figure, driving intolerance in general and anti-Semitism by extension.

Much depends on how House Democrats handle the latest evidence of the deep seated anti-Semitism Rep. Ilhan Omar just can’t seem to hide for very long.

And the next one.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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