Wednesday, March 6, 2019
By: RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks
Democratic leaders in the U.S. House are struggling to figure out how to condemn anti-Semitism without also condemning Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., the anti-Semite in their midst whose repeated expressions of hatred against Jews and Israel have rightfully outraged millions of Americans.
Omar’s toxic anti-Semitic eruptions are the only reason Democrats who control the House are planning to vote on a resolution denouncing anti-Semitism. Yet they can’t bring themselves to denounce her.
This is hardly a profile in courage. In fact, this cowardly move by Democrats is both absurd and insulting to Jewish Americans and the millions of non-Jews in our country who support Israel and oppose anti-Semitism.
It should go without saying that all forms of religious, racial, ethnic and other bigotry deserve condemnation. But that has never stopped the U.S. from focusing on particular types of prejudice.
For example, on Martin Luther King Day we recognize the great civil rights leader and his noble struggle against centuries of evil racism directed against African-Americans. We don’t use the same day to honor opponents of discrimination against women, the LGBT community, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, people with disabilities, old people, young people and on and on.
Hatred and discrimination against African-Americans deserves to be singled out for condemnation. The same is true for other targets of discrimination – including Jews.
Yet the Democratic Party – once staunchly allied with Israel – has now become the home of a growing number of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish extremists who would rather support terrorist groups that attack America than America’s only true friend in the Middle East – the Jewish state of Israel.
While the Democratic old guard in Congress still supports Israel and opposes anti-Semitism, some new Democratic elected officials are pushing the party farther and farther left – and supporters of Israel are getting left behind.
Omar has drawn support for her outrageous anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements from Democratic colleagues in the House including socialist media darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Omar is proving to be a giant headache for House Democratic leaders, who would prefer to spend their time denouncing, obstructing and investigating President Trump.
The list of Omar’s anti-Semitic comments on Twitter grows by the week and it’s like a Top 10 list of anti-Jewish tropes and calumnies dating back centuries.
Omar has embraced the “Jews are hypnotizing the world” trope, which portrays Jews as a nefarious, devious group trying to control the world from behind the scenes.
The Minnesota congresswoman has also accepted the lie that Israel is an “apartheid state” conducting “genocide” against Palestinians – a claim is not only untrue but fundamentally anti-Semitic.
And Omar has claimed that American elected officials only support Israel because they are paid off by rich Jews – a lie that demeans pro-Israel elected officials and harks back to some of the darkest anti-Jewish stereotypes from European history.
Most recently, Omar played the “dual loyalty” card, which implies that anyone who supports Israel holds an “allegiance” to a foreign country and puts the interests of that country – that Jewish country – above the interests of our own United States.
Apparently, the congresswoman has never visited a U.S. military cemetery. If she can fit a visit into her busy schedule of anti-Semitic tweeting she would find grave after grave of patriotic Jewish American who fought and sometimes died for our country. No thinking person can possibly doubt that they owed their allegiance to the United States.
In fact, Jews have been fighting in America’s wars since before our independence, beginning with the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War and every war since. The Jewish Chaplains Council estimates there are currently about 10,000 Jews serving in the U.S. armed forces. And in World War II, when the U.S. military reached its greatest size, about 500,000 Jews served in our armed forces.
Usually, the lie of dual loyalty is just implied to smear someone. Omar said as much explicitly, in plain English, about her fellow members of Congress who support Israel.
The common thread through all of these hateful comments by Omar is outright, undeniable anti-Semitism – something that has no place in the United States, and especially not in the U.S. Congress.
Less than a month ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other Democratic leaders forced Omar to apologize for saying that supporters of Israel were motivated by money. Omar managed a weasely post on Twitter that half-heartedly apologized for offending Jewish Americans. But she doubled down on her negative characterization of pro-Israel members of Congress in the same tweet.
This time Omar is not apologizing, and her radical “sisters” in Congress – Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez – have rushed to her defense.
Together, these three photogenic, social media-savvy, and outspoken House freshmen are the public face of a dangerous narrative about Israel and Jews. It is a narrative that uses anti-Semitic tropes that demonize Jews in order to delegitimize and ultimately to destroy Israel, the sole Jewish country in the world, the Middle East’s only democracy, and America’s strongest ally.
Omar and her allies are giving political cover and legitimacy to vicious lies that incite hatred of Jews and Israel. After the murder of 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue last October, it should be very clear just how dangerous those lies can be.
The watered-down denunciation of anti-Semitism and other bigotry that Democrats are expected to pass in the House soon is too weak a response to the anti-Semitism espoused by Omar.
The Democratic leadership of the House must remove Omar from her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, where she receives classified briefings on U.S. foreign policy and is privy to sensitive information about countries in the Middle East.
In fact, Omar should be removed from all of her committee seats, just as Rep. Steve King of Iowa was removed from all committee assignments this year by his fellow Republicans after his clearly racist statements.
Omar and her friends have lit an ugly dumpster fire of anti-Semitism in the halls of Congress. Democrats must put it out – now – before it spreads.
This article appeared on FoxNews.com on March 6, 2019.