Anti-Semitic Democrat Ilhan Omar Accused of Fresh Anti-Israel Remarks
Omar said she believes she has been branded anti-Semitic because she is Muslim
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who recently came under fire for her anti-Jewish tirade that has been widely regarded as anti-Semitic, has invoked more criticism for suggesting some politicians in Washington are "pushing for allegiance" to Israel.
Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib also made a similar remark Senate Republicans were more loyal to Israel in January.
The congresswoman's accusation that Jewish politicians could be vulnerable to having "dual loyalties" has been made in various contexts for years, and widely seen as a religious-based attack.
“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country," Omar said to applause.
"I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or big pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying movement that is influencing policy."
Omar said she believes she has been branded anti-Semitic because she is Muslim, and that our criticisms of Israel are well-founded.
"It is as if every time we say something that is supposed to be about foreign policy or engagement or the efficacy of ending oppression or the freeing of every human life and wanting dignity, we get labeled something that ends the discussion, because we end up defending that, and no one gets to have the broader debate about what is happening in Palestine," Omar said.
Her remarks were published by the GOP War Room YouTube channel.
Since becoming the first Somali-American woman elected to Congress in November, Omar has issued a steady stream of statements targeting Israel and its supporters in Congress.
Jonathan Chait writes at New York Magazine that Omar’s statement is “much worse” than her last controversy when she ascribed Israel support to financial donations from the lobby and then apologized for doing so.
Accusing Jews of “allegiance to a foreign country” is a historically classic way of delegitimizing their participation in the political system….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.
But Omar issued a sort of apology for her accusations that defenders of Israel in Washington were money motivated:
"It's all about the Benjamins, baby."
According to Fox News: Faced with swift condemnation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, she eventually followed up by apologizing for using "tropes," while still highlighting what she called the "problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee], the [National Rifle Association] or the fossil fuel industry."
Omar also apologized last month for posting a 2012 tweet that top Democrats have also called anti-Semitic: "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine#Israel," Omar wrote.
Republican leaders, including President Trump, slammed Omar's apology as insincere and "lame" -- and on Wednesday night, conservative commentators said Omar had proven them right.
"You know at some point; someone's going to have to consider the possibility she says these things because she believes them," Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's national security adviser, Omri Ceren, wrote on Twitter.
In The Washington Examiner, columnist Philip Klein added that Omar was again using a "classic anti-Semitic dual loyalty smear," and charged that Omar -- who "earlier this month was forced into a hostage tape style fake apology for anti-Semitic tweets" -- remained entirely "unrepentant."
New York Times op-ed columnist Bret Stephens wrote: "Rep. @IlhanMN seems to calculate that if she makes only one blatantly anti-Semitic remark per week, progressives will forgive her. Is she right?"
Omar has long argued that America is too close to Israel, and denies that she is anti-Semitic.
Last month, Omar argued in a Yahoo! News interview that Israel could not be considered a democracy and compared it to the Islamic theocracy in Iran.
"When I see Israel institute laws that recognize it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it, and we still uphold it as a democracy in the Middle East I almost chuckle because I know that if we see that any other society we would criticize it, call it out," she said.
"We do that to Iran, we do that to any other place that sort of upholds its religion. And I see that now happening with Saudi Arabia and so I am aggravated, truly, in those contradictions."