Ilhan Omar is throwback to days of segregation, when racists openly roamed halls of Congress

Yes, hatred is hatred, but no form of bigotry is as pervasive in as many places as antisemitism.

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March 11, 2019 20:23
4 minute read.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar leaves Senate after watching failure of competing proposals to end government s

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar leaves Senate after watching failure of competing proposals to end government shutdown.. (photo credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)

The Democrats leading the House of Representatives could not bring themselves to make a simple declaration condemning Rep. Ilan Omar (D-Minnesota) for her repeated antisemitic remarks, in which she suggested that Israel is mesmerizing members of Congress, that members are being bribed by Jews, that Jews are concerned only with money, and that they have dual loyalty to the US and Israel.

Instead, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) wilted under pressure from her far-left colleagues and not only refused to explicitly condemn Omar, but endorsed a milquetoast resolution condemning nearly every form of bigotry (anti-Christian prejudice was notably missing).

Pelosi listened to people like Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), who insisted that there must be “equity in our outrage,” that all forms of hate needed to be denounced, and that “there is no hierarchy of hurt.”

Indeed, many forms of intolerance exist; however, that does not excuse the failure to condemn a 2,000-year-old hatred that is unlike any other. Antisemitism is endemic in most of the world’s societies, and responsible for centuries of blood libels, pogroms and terrorism directed only at Jews because they are Jews, leading to the greatest genocide in world history – the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust. Tragically, that was not the culmination of this ancient hatred. It continues to this day in the genocidal aspirations of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and extremists on the political Right and Left.

We see this scourge today in the form of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement – endorsed by Omar – which seeks the destruction of Israel. Its advocates have spread to college campuses, United Nations bodies, the women’s and Black Lives Matter movements, faculty and professional academic associations, and the entertainment industry.

Yes, hatred is hatred, but no form of bigotry is as pervasive in as many places as antisemitism.

And now purveyors of antisemitism are ensconced in the world’s greatest democratic institution. I use the plural because Omar’s colleague Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) is also a BDS supporter who has made her own antisemitic statements, such as raising the trope of Jews’ dual loyalty by suggesting that senators who supported antiboycott legislation “forgot what country they represent.”

I gave Omar the benefit of the doubt at the outset of her tenure in Congress. I applauded her wearing traditional Muslim garb and openly expressing her faith. Now, however, it appears that she is consumed by hatred for Jews. I don’t believe that anyone in the history of Congress has so openly and vilely attacked Jews and Israel. Other bigots have tried to disguise their hatred, but Omar can’t contain her contempt, doubling down on her views even after being told they are antisemitic.

Listening to Omar’s defenders, I was reminded of the days of segregation when racists roamed the halls of Congress, openly expressing their prejudices and fighting against civil rights legislation. I never thought I would see any members express antisemitic views with impunity and be appointed to positions of power – in Omar’s case, the Foreign Relations Committee – where they can try to adversely influence legislation affecting the Jewish people and its homeland.

The Democrats’ inaction on Omar was in stark contrast to the unequivocal and deserved condemnation of the bigoted remarks of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who was stripped of all his committee assignments.

Omar represents a threat to the Jewish community because her incendiary antisemitism is penetrating the broader body politic. She is challenging the morality of the Democratic Party, which failed the test last week to demonstrate its intolerance for Jew-hatred. The resolution it passed was meaningless, because any statement that condemns everything, condemns nothing.

SO, WHO will rise to oppose Omar?

Now that it is clear her Democratic colleagues do not have the backbone to stand up to Omar, it is up to her constituents to act. Just two months into her first term in office, instead of serving the needs of her constituents, Omar has decided to use the platform they have given her to attack Jews and Israel.

Is that what the voters of the Fifth Congressional District had in mind when they elected her?

“Rep. Omar has used up the reservoir of goodwill generally granted to those who begin new jobs by repeatedly insulting the Jewish people even after being told that her words are dangerous and hurtful,” Democratic Minnesota state senator Ron Latz said, urging her to “discuss policy without inflaming religious conflict.”

Constituents also have reason to be angry about her “bait-and-switch” position on BDS. During a primary debate in a Minnesota synagogue, Omar said she did not support BDS, but after winning her seat, she admitted to being a proponent of the campaign that seeks the destruction of Israel. This seems less surprising now that she has been exposed as an antisemite.

In 2020, Omar will again face the voters, and it is up to them to send a message to Omar, the Democratic Party and the rest of America that Jew-hatred has no place in American politics, and that people of the great state of Minnesota do not want to be represented by an antisemite.


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