At a “candidate forum” that took place in a Minneapolis synagogue in August, now-Congresswoman Ilhan Omar stated that she believed the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) is “not helpful in getting [a] two-state solution.” Yet on Sunday, after her successful election, her office reportedly stated that she “believes in and supports the BDS movement.” Meanwhile, the press has celebrated the fact that she and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress. The press, however, has not showed much interest in reporting on the attitude of either toward Jews, as David Harsanyi writes:
Omar, who replaces Keith Ellison—a former acolyte of the anti-Semitic minister Louis Farrakhan—also has some exotic notions about the Jewish people. In a 2012 tweet, for instance, [she] explained that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.” Meanwhile, . . . Tlaib . . . wants to cut aid to the Jewish state because supporting it “doesn’t fit the values of our country.”
The writer David Steinberg identified 105 news stories written in the immediate aftermath of Omar’s victory, and not a single one mentioned her belief that Jewry possessed mind-control abilities or that Israel was “evil.” No one called on the Democratic party to distance itself from this rhetoric. No one at the partisan Anti-Defamation League, ostensibly tasked with stopping anti-Jewish libel but in reality busy hyperventilating over every far-flung right-wing bigot with a handful of supporters, paid her any attention.
Now, it isn’t inherently anti-Semitic to be critical of Israeli political leadership or policies. . . . But Omar used a well-worn anti-Semitic trope about the preternatural ability of a nefarious Jewish cabal to deceive the world. . . . Omar had a chance to retract, or at least refine, her statement. Instead, she doubled down. “These accusations [of anti-Semitism] are without merit,” she claimed, blaming Jewish Islamophobia for the backlash. “They are rooted in bigotry toward a belief about what Muslims are stereotyped to believe.” . . . Omar even wants the U.S. to normalize relations with the Holocaust-denying terror-state of Iran. . . .
Omar’s defenders will claim she’s anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish. “Anti-Zionism” has been the preferred justification for hatred of Jews in institutions of education and within progressive activism for a long time. Now it’s coming for politics. Democrats can either [refuse to accept it], or they can remain silent.