Thursday, July 01, 2021

Memo to Minnesota Voters: Vote Omar out of Office!

Ilhan Omar (New York Post)
There are not too many people in congress that disgust me more than Ilhan Omar. Not that there aren’t other disgusting creatures there. There surely are. Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Matt Gaetz  come quickly to mind. Her  antisemitism is appalling and yet given a pass all too often by her colleagues. Not that there aren’t other anti Israel members of congress. Not the least of which is Rashida Tlaib and to a lesser but significant extent, Bernie Sanders. But Omar disgusts me the most. 

Why, one may ask, is that?  It’s because she comes off as so sincere in claiming the moral high ground. And with her background of being persecuted in her native country of Somalia, she gets the benefit of claiming to know from experience what being mistreated is all about. And as a Muslim she understands what anti Muslim bigotry is in this country. Nor does it hurt that she is a woman of color and an immigrant. That along with her her diminutive stature gives her  an aura of vulnerability and thus sympathy.

She always couches her criticism  of Israel in moralistic tones. That it is only about government atrocities and not against its people or their religion. Adding to the perception of credibility is her claim to welcome dialogue with her opponents so that she ‘can learn from them’  – and they from her. That she covers her hair for religious reasons adds to her image of ethics and morality. Her manner of speech is often in soft tones. 

Put it all together and she makes for quite a sympathetic figure. It is therefore much more difficult to condemn her hateful remarks and easier spin them in positive ways. That is why she disgusts me. Her image does not match her bigotry. I believe that is why she gets with so much. Including bashing not only Israel but her own newly adopted country, the US. From the BBC

On (June 10th) Ms Omar tweeted that "we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban" 

"We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity," she wrote, including a video of her questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a committee hearing in the House of Representatives. 

Her comments got a quick response from some of her fellow  Democrats: 

"Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided," wrote the group, led by New York Democrat Jerry Nadler, in a statement on Wednesday.

"Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and contemptible organizations that engage in terrorism at best discredits one's intended argument and at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice.

"False equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups," they added. 

That did not deter Omar. Instead she attacked her critics with the following retort: 

Ms Omar…hit back at the group calling them "shameful" and accusing them of engaging in "islamophobic tropes".

"It's shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now put out a statement asking for 'clarification' and not just call," she tweeted.

"The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable." 

And more recently she actually had the gall to say thefollowing

Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar doubled down on controversial comments made about Jews, saying her Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill “aren’t partners in justice… 

“I think it’s really important for these [House] members to realize that they haven’t been partners in justice. They haven’t been equally engaging in seeking justice around the world and I think I will continue to do that. It is important for me as someone who knows what it feels like to experience injustice in ways that many of my colleagues don’t – to be a voice in finding accountability.” 

As if on cue - Jewish progressives defended her

In response to the criticisms of Omar, progressive Jewish group IfNotNow, which campaigns in support of Palestinians, tweeted, "Contrary to these out-of-touch politicians' belief: condemning @IlhanMN for asking how the Israeli government will be held accountable for human rights violations outside of the ICC will do nothing for Jewish safety." 

Beth Miller, government affairs manager for Jewish Voice for Peace Action, told Newsweek in a Thursday email that it is "an undeniable fact that the US and Israel have committed unspeakable atrocities, the victims of which are still awaiting justice." She said that the members of Congress criticizing Omar "are employing racist and Islamophobic tropes to attack" the Minnesota representative "for demanding answers from our Secretary of State." 

It is pretty clear to me that this woman is an antisemite. As it should have been to everyone when she made her ‘It’s all about the Benjamins’ comment – referring to the support for Israel in congress is due to Jewish money (i.e. contributions to  political campaigns).  She apologized for that comment after being called out on it by fellow Democrats. But it should be more than obvious that the comment came straight from her heart. This is what she believes. 

In the most recent case she ‘clairifed’ her anti American comments as being about specific acts and not about America as a whole.  That led to the following: 

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a rare joint statement with leaders of the chamber's committees seeking to quell the party unrest. 

"We welcome the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the US and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban," wrote the group of senior Democrats. 

Translation: OK she clarified. No biggie. Let’s move on. 

There are some people that would like to silence her - to stifle her freedom of speech. I am not one of them. People can express any view they wish no matter how offensive – as long as it does not endanger the public welfare. She has as much right to bash Israel and the US as did the neoNazis to march in Skokie in the 80s. 

But that doesn’t not mean she deserves a seat in congress. She does not belong there. It is my sincere hope that the voters in her home district in Minnesota see her for the phony antisemite she is and vote her out of office in the next election. She may have been given a pass by voters in the last election. But I hope they finally realize who and what they are voting for. 

On the other hand, a lot of voters simply don’t pay enough attention to realize the kinds of things she said about Israel and her (their) own country. They probably still see her as the quiet sweet diminutive refugee that escaped persecution, immigrated to the US, and achieved the American dream. And some voters will just vote for name recognition. Which Omar certainly has in spades. 

Sorry to say that this may keep her in office a long time. I hope not. I guess we’ll see in November of 2022. Those of us that see her for what she really is need to make that as clear as possible to anyone that will listen. That is the very least we can do