By the end of last week, instances of anti-Semitic rhetoric by the freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar had become too many to enumerate. Her two apologies, in the space of a few weeks, for earlier statements can no longer be taken seriously, writes Eli Lake, calling on the Democratic leadership to condemn Omar more forcefully:
Here is a Somali-American refugee success story, a woman who embodies the American ideal of citizenship not based on race, creed, or religion. And yet, in barely two months in office, the Minnesota Democrat has repeatedly questioned the loyalty of Zionists.
Historically this kind of thing has been associated with the ugly nativist strain of American politics. David Duke famously called the federal government the ZOG, for Zionist-Occupied Government. A similar note was sounded by Pat Buchanan, who once called Congress Israel’s “amen corner.” More recently one finds this sentiment on the left. . . .
At this point, [however], Omar’s musings should no longer be a surprise. What is surprising is that many Democrats are still demanding an apology. Why do they think a third apology will make a difference? . . . Omar is speaking for a constituency of American progressives who agree with her that Israel and its supporters have warped U.S. foreign policy. . . .
Politically speaking, Omar’s main challenge is to her fellow Democrats. The speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, has sought to promote her as an example of a party that represents America in all its diversity, posing with Omar and other female members of Congress for the cover of Rolling Stone. At the same time, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have denounced Omar’s comments, and House members will [soon] vote on a new resolution to condemn anti-Semitism. It’s unclear whether that resolution will denounce Omar by name, or whether Democrats will strip her of her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as Republicans did when Representative Steve King’s white nationalism finally caught up with him. This much, however, is clear: Democrats have to do more than demand another apology.