Ilhan Omar and the justification of hate

Her anti-Jewish sentiment isn’t an isolated incident. She has shown over and over to embrace antisemitism through her rhetoric, both in her speech and through a series of tweets.

By
March 16, 2019 22:39
2 minute read.
Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar speaks at her election night party in Minneapolis.

Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar speaks at her election night party in Minneapolis.. (photo credit: ERIC MILLER/REUTERS)

 
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It has been an interesting month as it relates to freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. In a horrific incident she has been a victim of Islamophobia, most recently in West Virginia, linking her with the September 11 terrorist attacks. That kind of discrimination is abhorrent, so you would think that would make her more sensitive to the Jewish plight. Yet it hasn’t.

Her anti-Jewish sentiment isn’t an isolated incident. She has shown over and over to embrace antisemitism through her rhetoric, both in her speech and through a series of tweets.

To be clear, while I disagree with her, she certainly has the right to criticize the Israeli government. In no way does legitimate debate as it relates to Israeli government policy cross a line of anti-Jewish sentiment, but none of her tweets or rhetoric have actually criticized those policies. Instead, her comments have played into old age stereotypes that have been used to persecute Jews throughout history.

This is not the first time she has landed in hot water for trafficking in antisemitism. She has made claims of pro-Israel supporters having “dual loyalty” to a foreign nation, feeding into the fallacy that Jews can’t be trusted to be loyal to our nation. Hitler used that argument to justify the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews.

She has claimed Israel has “hypnotized” the world, feeding into the old antisemitic trope that Jews somehow possess magic powers, and she has tweeted that “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” again feeding into an old age anti-Jewish stereotype that Jews control the world through money. Some have claimed that her remarks are based on ignorance, it’s hard to accept that premise.

Somehow through all of this, she manages to paint herself as the victim with the far-Left contingent of the Democratic Party, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez helping to justify that picture. This has only served to minimize the deep hurt and pain that her continued statements have created for the Jewish community.

With antisemitic incidents surging in the United States, her behavior cannot be justified. If the Democratic Party wants to remain credible and make a case against the hateful remarks that have been spewed from the likes of Republican Congressman Steve King, they must do more than to just demand another apology from the congresswoman. If not, they only serve to encourage future antisemitism from their own members.

The writer is a political commentator and columnist both in the US and Israel.

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