Need to Oust anti-Semite Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee
By Seth Barron
and Judith Miller
New York Post
March 4, 2019
leaders will put forward a vote on the House floor Wednesday to denounce
anti-Semitism in the wake of Rep.
Ilhan Omar’s latest inflammatory remarks about Jewish support for Israel.
But it’s unlikely that Omar will pay a real price for her bigotry.
about Israel and the Palestinians last week at a panel at Busboys & Poets, a
“community-gathering space” in Washington, Omar (D-Minn.) demanded the right
to “talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for
people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
applause, including from her fellow panelist Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.),
another Israel-hater, Omar wondered why she was allowed to criticize the oil and
pharmaceutical industries but is forbidden “by a powerful lobby” from
criticizing Israeli influence over US Mideast policy.
over the weekend, she doubled down, tweeting that she would refuse to “have
allegiance/pledge support” to Israel as a condition of serving in Congress —
as though anyone had demanded that.
was only a few weeks ago that Omar tweeted her notorious remark, “It’s all
about the Benjamins, baby,” insinuating that Jews exercise undue control over
foreign policy through their wealth. Under intense pressure from Jewish groups
and her colleagues, she walked back from that comment, with its nasty historical
echoes, and “unequivocally” apologized. “I am grateful for Jewish allies
and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic
lessons apparently haven’t taken. The claim that pro-Israel groups “push for
allegiance to a foreign country” is far worse than the more common trope that
Jews who support Israel have dual or divided loyalty. “Allegiance” means
singular loyalty; Omar says that the Zionist lobby requires lawmakers, Jewish or
otherwise, to pledge undivided fidelity to Israel.
relentlessly deflects criticism of her rhetoric and says that calling her to
account for her malign characterization of Jewish supporters of Israel is
“designed to end the debate” about Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians.
one can talk critically about Israel and Palestine without consistently framing
the discussion in terms of Jewish hypocrisy, money and lies. Omar says that her
“huge Jewish constituency” always “shares stories about safety and
sanctuary for the people of Israel,” even though “there is no actual
relative” or family member in danger. She insinuates that Jewish concern for
Israel is illegitimately rooted in tribal particularism, an ethno-supremacist
agenda that transcends the bonds of family or nation.
is not, as Omar would have it, a reasoned critique of Israeli policy in the
occupied territories; it is an attack on American Jewish identity and Jewish
says that when Jews say they feel hurt or betrayed by what they perceive to be
her anti-Semitic rhetoric, this is only a pretext to silence her. “When
people say, ‘You are bringing hate,’ I know what their intention is. Their
intention is to make sure that our lights are dimmed, that we walk around with
our heads bowed.” This would appear to qualify her “unqualified” apology
for earlier trafficking in anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Friday, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, demanded that Omar apologize for her “vile, anti-Semitic slur,”
which, he added, has “no place in the Foreign Affairs Committee or the House
he stopped short of calling for her expulsion from his committee. So far, only
Republicans — Vice President Mike Pence and House Minority Leader Kevin
McCarthy among them — have called for her removal.
as GOP leaders finally removed Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) from all committees for
having promoted white nationalism and supremacy, Democrats should insist on
Omar’s expulsion from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
some fear that removing Omar would make her a martyr and play into the hands of
those seeking to drag their party to the left, her animus towards Jews should
disqualify her from a leadership role in congressional oversight of US foreign
Labour party has been torn asunder by leader Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitism and
his cozy feelings for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. If the
Democrats want to head into the 2020 election season with a “Corbynized” —
or “Omar-ized” — party, that’s their business.
permitting Omar to remain a spokeswoman on foreign affairs risks not only
elevating her personal status but affirming her odious statements as a
legitimate, if minority, viewpoint in the party.