Democrats Need to Do More Than Demand Another Apology from Ilhan Omar

March 7 2019

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.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, David Duke, Democrats, Ilhan Omar, Politics & Current Affairs

 

Despite What the UN Says, the Violence at the Gaza Border Is Military, Not Civilian, in Nature

March 22 2019

On Monday, a UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry issued its final report on last spring’s disturbances at the Gaza border. Geoffrey Corn and Peter Margulies explain why the report is fatally flawed:

The commission framed the events [in Gaza] as a series of demonstrations that were “civilian in nature.” Israel and its Supreme Court, [which has investigated some of the killings that occurred], framed the same events quite differently: as a new evolution in Israel’s ongoing armed conflict with the terrorist organization Hamas. Consistency and common sense suggest that the Israeli High Court of Justice’s framing is a more rational explanation of what occurred at the Israel-Gaza border in spring 2018.

Kites, [for instance], played a telltale role [in the violence]. When most people think of kites, they think of a child’s plaything or a hobbyist’s harmless passion. In the Gaza confrontation, kites [became] a new and effective, albeit low-tech, tactic for attacking Israel. As the report conceded, senior Gaza leaders, including from Hamas, “encouraged” the unleashing of waves of incendiary kites that during and since the spring 2018 confrontations have burned thousands of acres of arable land within Israel. The resulting destruction included fires that damaged the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which conveys goods and gasoline from Israel to Gaza. . . .

Moreover, the incendiary-kite offensive was an effective diversion from the efforts encouraged and coordinated by Hamas last spring to pierce the border with Israel and attack both IDF personnel and the civilian residents of the beleaguered Israeli towns a short distance from the border fence. . . .

The commission also failed to acknowledge that Hamas sought to use civilians as an operational cover to move members of its armed wing into position along the fence. For IDF commanders, this increased the importance of preventing a breach [in the fence]. Large crowds directly along the fence would simplify breakthrough attempts by intermingled Hamas and other belligerent operatives. The crowds themselves also could attempt to pour through any breach. Unfortunately, the commission seems to have completely omitted any credible assessment of the potential casualties on all sides that would have resulted from IDF action to seal a breach once it was achieved. . . .

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Laws of war, UNHRC, United Nations