Ilhan Omar’s Qatar-Funded Junket Demonstrates Her Hypocrisy about Israel

Last year, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar visited Qatar, a major sponsor of Hamas and other Islamist groups, to attend the soccer World Cup. According to her recent financial disclosures, the emirate’s government paid for the trip. Zach Kessel comments:

Omar was not the only lawmaker on the trip, but her inclusion is ironic given her past statements about Israel. In a February 2019 tweet . . . Omar intimated that U.S. support for the lone democracy in the Middle East is predicated solely on money from Jewish donors. Soon after, speaking at a Washington, D.C. bookstore, Omar decried “the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Of course, the “Israel lobby” is not the reason why the United States supports its closest ally in the region—public opinion is—and such arguments stink of Protocols of the Elders of Zion-adjacent conspiracy theories alleging that a Jewish cabal controls world politics. It’s also worth asking why Israel seems to catch all the flak whenever any progressive talks about supposed foreign influence on American politics.

If we turn our attention to foreign countries and their attempts to curry favor with U.S. lawmakers, Israel is . . . low on the list. In reality, nations such as Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and, yes, Qatar spend more money on American politics than Israel does.

Back to Omar’s World Cup trip. The congresswoman, who so often rails against Israel’s supposed human-rights violations, accepted gifts from a regime that sponsors terrorism and exports anti-American propaganda.

And that’s not to mention the country’s abysmal human-rights record, or its de-facto enslavement of thousands of foreign workers.

Read more at National Review

More about: Anti-Semitism, Ilhan Omar, Qatar, U.S.-Israel relationship


Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy