During the recent controversy surrounding Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, several Democratic politicians defended her by claiming she is not anti-Semitic but simply ignorant. Thus Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “I don’t think our colleague is anti-Semitic. I think she has a different experience in the use of words.” Christine Rosen comments:
In other words, [Pelosi and others are claiming that], like a misguided toddler who didn’t know any better, Omar should be excused for trafficking in age-old, hateful anti-Semitic stereotypes. It’s an especially ironic narrative for staunch feminists like Pelosi, given how patronizing and sexist the same remarks would have sounded coming from a man (or from any Republican). Omar’s supporters are arguing that Omar is too inept to understand what she is saying—and yet they still granted her a position on the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee? . . .
Omar traffics in well-known anti-Semitic tropes, and she knows they are anti-Semitic. We know she does because she has already had several “listening and learning” sessions with Jewish leaders from her congressional district and national organizations about precisely those stereotypes. Many of those leaders expressed surprise that Democrats were treating Omar’s most recent expression of anti-Semitism as if it had been a minor gaffe by a political ingénue rather than as part of a pattern of prejudice from a grown woman who knows exactly what she is signaling when she says these things. Everyone else seems to know what she’s saying— after all, the former KKK grand wizard David Duke tweeted his praise for Omar, calling her “the most important member of the U.S. Congress.”
In addition to treating Omar like a child, the Democratic narrative insists we recognize that she is also a victim—in fact, more of one than the people she is attacking because she is Muslim and is supposedly challenging the foreign-policy status quo with regard to Israel. It is true that Omar has been the target of anti-Muslim bigotry, most recently from the scurrilous lips of the Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. But she is the creator of the controversies that surround her, not the target. . . .
Omar has [thus] emerged from repeated controversies unrepentant and more powerful than before (and retaining her seat on the House Foreign Affairs committee).