Muslim Congressmen Should Be Held Accountable for Their Anti-Semitism

The current House of Representatives includes two female Muslim members—a first, and a cause for much celebration in the press. As of this week, both have made their anti-Semitism public. Ilhan Omar, in 2012, wrote that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” while Rashida Tlaib on Sunday declared that supporters of legislation before the Senate that would curb boycotts of Israel “forgot which country they represent.” Siraj Hashmi comments:

During the 2018 campaign, Omar was not supportive of the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS). But as soon as the election ended, she announced her support to the publication MuslimGirl. BDS has long been accused of promoting an anti-Semitic agenda that would bring an end to the Jewish state. . . .

To her credit, Tlaib, [for her part], later clarified her statement by saying she was accusing senators, not Jews, of having dual loyalties. However, Tlaib’s clarification can [nevertheless] be considered anti-Semitic, since it again suggests that the state of Israel—and, by extension, Jews—is conspiring to control the world and, in particular, sitting U.S. senators. . . . .

Omar and Tlaib weren’t the only ones [whose conduct] crossed well into the territory of anti-Semitism. Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim elected to Congress and is now Minnesota’s attorney general, was repeatedly denounced by Jewish groups, particularly in the past year, for his ties to the raging anti-Semite and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

[W]e shouldn’t allow their ideas to give the impression to other Americans that [these individuals represent] monolithic thinking among Muslims both in the United States and around the world. It shouldn’t be difficult to be critical of the policies and actions of a government and not make sweeping generalizations that devolve into hatred for an entire group of people. The biggest challenge will be how long [these congresswomen’s] supporters let this conduct continue before they call them out on it. If the current state of politics has taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t hold our breath.

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More about: American Muslims, Anti-Semitism, BDS, Congress, Louis Farrakhan, Politics & Current Affairs, Rashida Tlaib

No, Israelis and Palestinians Can’t Simply Sit Down and Solve the “Israel-Palestinian Conflict”

Jan. 17 2019

By “zooming out” from the blinkered perspective with which most Westerners see the affairs of the Jewish state, argues Matti Friedman, one can begin to see things the way Israelis do:

Many [in Israel] believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened . . . in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors . . . into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. . . .

In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea—“like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation—if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm.

But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen.

The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunnis and Shiites; between majority populations and minorities. If [Israel’s] small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East