Ilhan Omar draws widespread criticism for anti-Semitic remarks
Representative-elect Ilhan Omar. (Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons)
DRIVING THE CONVO — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) drew widespread criticism once again after suggesting that influential pro-Israel Americans are pushing for “allegiance to a foreign country.” The remarks reported by Jewish Insider on Thursday come about two weeks after Omar apologized for anti-Semitic tweets that prompted the Democratic Party’s leadership to speak out against her.
Omar Accuses Israel Hawks of ‘Allegiance to a Foreign Country’ — by Jonathan Chait: “Omar went much farther, reports Laura Kelly. After an audience member shouted out, ‘It’s all about the Benjamins,’ at which she smiled, she proceeded to state, ‘I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.’ … Accusing Jews of ‘allegiance to a foreign country’ is a historically classic way of delegitimizing their participation in the political system. Whether or not the foreign policy agenda endorsed by American supporters of Israel is wise or humane, it is a legitimate expression of their political rights as American citizens… Omar is directly invoking the hoary myth of dual loyalty, in which the Americanness of Jews is inherently suspect, and their political participation must be contingent upon proving their patriotism.” [NYMag]
David Rothkopf tweeted: “I defended her last round–as having said something troubling & insensitive. It’s hard to defend this.”
Ari Fleischer: “This is deeply insulting. I’m a first generation American. My mother fled the Nazis in 1939 and came to this great country. Almost all her family was slaughtered in the Holocaust… As an American, I love and support Israel because it, along with the U.S., is one of the few countries on earth where Jews can live in freedom & peace.”
Bret Stephens: “Rep. Ilhan Omar seems to calculate that if she makes only one blatantly anti-Semitic remark per week, progressives will forgive her. Is she right?”
A Democratic Hill staffer tells JI: “While the grown ups in the caucus are trying to get messaging out on bread and butter issues like healthcare and infrastructure, she’s drowning us out with her antics. The day after she lets an inflammatory tweet fly, we’ll get a dozen calls about it.”
Meanwhile, Rolling Stone magazine released their March cover featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi posing alongside Rep. Omar.
The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) said in a statement, “We reject the parallels Representative Omar has repeatedly drawn between Israel and apartheid South Africa. We also want to make clear to both Reps. Omar and Tlaib that our denunciation of their recent tweets was completely unrelated to their religion. We celebrate the diversity of Democrats in 116th Congress, but unequivocally oppose the use of anti-Semitic tropes. We would have condemned such tweets from any member of Congress, regardless of their party or background.”
AJC Global: “Ilhan Omar, if you feel that people are ‘silencing’ the debate on Israel and the Palestinians by accusing you of antisemitism, maybe you should stop saying antisemitic things.”