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Debate over anti-Semitism charges exposes divide in Democratic Party

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By Amanda Becker

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The Democrats are really in a bind because of their adherence to racial identity politics. It forces them to genuflect to Muslims like Omar even though current Muslim political activism is anti-Semitic.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Calling out the pro-Israel lobby is not anti-Semitic, questions need to be asked about the blind loyalty to corrupt, right wing Netanyahu and the apartheid regime in Israel.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

 I want to ask why is it okay for me to talk about the influence of the NRA (National Rifle Association), of fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policies?” Omar said.

Obviously a newbie in Washington.

AIPAC and friends have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to anti-semitism.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I stand with Rep. Omar. Israel is a valuable ally, but over the decades, there have been members of Congress and the government who have put Israel's interests above those of the United States.

Nothing in her statement even remotely constitutes hate speech or anti-Semitism.

The coverage of this is becoming despicable. This woman has more courage than the entire Congress, combined.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

By time they stopped adding groups to the legislation there were only White Christians excluded. Even LGBT got in there somehow, no one was even talking about them. Did not serve the purpose at off for calling out a Dem congress for anti-semitism.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

What TH said. While she could have chosen her words a little more carefully, it's an important debate to have. No one complains when people make the same point about Saudi Arabia's enormous lobbying machine. Democrats on the take who have criticized Omar see no contradiction between this and the Russia inquiry? Trump is a traitor for possibly colluding with Russians but Democratic congressmen getting annual checks from AIPAC and the Israelis--that doesn't influence policy? Even recent US laws seeking to forbid criticism or boycotts of a foreign government (not it's people). Not to mention that the right wing, corrupt Netanyahu is bosom buds with Trump. Money equals influence, period. To say otherwise is simply obtuse.

Glenn Greenwald nails it all down:

https://theintercept.com/2019/03/05/the-house-democrats-rebuke-of-rep-ilhan-omar-is-a-fraud-for-many-reasons-including-its-wild-distortion-of-her-comments/

7 ( +8 / -1 )

No wonder the House is shielding Omar:

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/03/07/david-duke-calls-ilhan-omar-most-important-member-of-the-us-congress/

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

@texas

Breitbart is an alt-right, bigoted news source. David Duke is also, an alt-right, bigoted, antisemite who supports Trump. Of course he is going to support her, as it helps his own party and furthers the antisemitism hate.

The fact that you would post this only shows that you have no interest in clipping antisemitism from our culture and therefore, have no interest in making america great.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

For what it's worth:

I am a Democrat, a liberal and a secular Jew. Here's my take:

AIPAC exerts influence on US politics in the same manner as the NRA. And in just the same way that the NRA has broken US policy towards guns, AIPAC has broken US policy towards Israel.

That said: Given the fact that dual loyalty and scheming finance have been and continue to be central anti-Jewish slurs, she stepped in it.

That creates a paradox, of sorts: what do we in America, because of those anti-semetic tropes, do when Jews engage in financial skulduggery and commit to - in good faith -- policies demonstrably harmfull to US interests?

I got a solution for that quandary, and it doesn't include a Muslim.

If you are going to go there, and as a country I think we need to go there, let Jews do the criticizing.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Watch the 4 part documentary “the lobby USA” on YouTube.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That said: Given the fact that dual loyalty and scheming finance have been and continue to be central anti-Jewish slurs, she stepped in it.

Yes she did, but her clumsy wording does not negate the power of the Christian right and others who continue to support Israel, no matter what. Of course, there are also elements of the far right who are openly anti-Semitic, as we've seen on marches in the US. Thus, the irrational hatreds of racism are myriad and complex.

The question/accusation of dual loyalty is an interesting one, and often applied to American citizens not just of Jewish identity but of Muslim, too.

In these precarious times, identity, loyalty and nationalism can be a dangerous mix. Have you read Roth's The Plot Against America? Fascinating read and a disturbing look at the possibilities that nationalism and isolationism can lead to.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Some of the biggest anti-Semites are the evangelical Christians (Pence included) who believe all Jews (including those who died in the Holocaust) will burn/are burning in Hell unless they "accept/accepted" Jesus.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Yes she did, but her clumsy wording

It wasn’t clumsy. It was a very clear example of dog whistle anti-Semitism. She knew what she was doing.

Trump’s ‘good people on both sides’ at a racist rally with people shouting ‘jews won’t replace us’ wasn’t clumsy either. He knew what he was doing.

I’m sure you’ve seen the problems with anti-Semitism on the left in the UK and here’s an example on the left in the US. Anti-Semitism isn’t limited to the right.

Call out both sides even if one side is more guilty than the other. Nobody gets a pass. Downplaying it as clumsy language or a slip of the tongue isn’t helpful.

@Black Sabbath

Are you saying only Jews should be allowed to criticise Israel’s behaviour?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Daou said a political double standard was at play, pointing to a recent tweet from Republican Representative Jim Jordan, what used a dollar sign for a letter in the name of Democratic donor Tom Steyer, who is Jewish.

"Why is it that a white, male Republican can largely get away with the same thing and this massive outcry happened over a Muslim, progressive woman of color? That’s something we have to grapple with," Daou said.

It doesn't matter what the GOP does. They are home to racists and bigots and they are fine with that. Their choice. Jim Jordan himself said that Obama should go back to Kenya and in his circle he gets more votes than he loses with racial stuff like that. Or look at Steve King.

But we aren't them. While I don't think the comments are offensive we're going to have a response. We want to be the opposite of the GOP in the way we handle ourselves and we want to send a message.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

At almost the exact same time Speaker Pelosi brings an anti-bigotry resolution to the floor for a vote, representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sends out a campaign email proclaiming "the Jews are out to get her".

Say hello to the David Duke Party.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

It wasn’t clumsy. It was a very clear example of dog whistle anti-Semitism. She knew what she was doing.

Again, genuine criticism of the support for Israel's domestic policies, illegal settlements and treatment of Palestinians is not anti-Semitism.

I think clumsy and misinformed is a fair enough assessment. She isn't Republican. The vitriol being aimed to her on Twitter and elsewhere is traumatising enough.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Are you saying only Jews should be allowed to criticise Israel’s behaviour?

I read it more as him saying that it's better to let the Jews do it, so that the criticism of Israel can't be confused with anti-semitism.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It wasn’t clumsy. It was a very clear example of dog whistle anti-Semitism. She knew what she was doing.

She was quoting lyrics to refer to the influence of money in Congress--pure and simple. Anti-Semitism had nothing to do with it.

True anti-Semitism is truly despicable, but those who level false charges of anti-Semitism are just as despicable.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I read it more as him saying that it's better to let the Jews do it, so that the criticism of Israel can't be confused with anti-semitism.

Then there will be the disgusting accusations of being self-hating Jews, as have been levelled at Bernie Sanders and the many, many other Jewish critics of Israel. You just can't win.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

At almost the exact same time Speaker Pelosi brings an anti-bigotry resolution to the floor for a vote, representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sends out a campaign email proclaiming "the Jews are out to get her".

This didn't happen.

Say hello to the David Duke Party.

Why would I say hello to the GOP?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

From the Voice of America:

> "U.S. lobbyists on Saudi Arabia's payroll gave more than $2.3 million to U.S. political campaigns in late 2016 and 2017 as they mounted a massive influence operation to blunt anti-Saudi congressional action and promote other Saudi interests in the United States, according to a new study of federal lobbying records."

https://www.voanews.com/a/report-says-saudi-hired-lobbyists-give-millions-to-influence-us-congress/4635576.html

Does pointing this out as fundamentally wrong, especially in light of the Saudi regime's horrid record, not to mention the bombings in Yemen, mean I'm an Islamophobe or that I have some particular animus against the Saudi people? Perhaps a nation that tells itself bedtime stories about being the bedrock of democracy might start asking questions about all money flowing into congressional coffers. But I'm one of those idealist fools who think campaigns should be publicly financed.

Take a look at the top 10 nations by the amount of money they funnel into the US political system:

https://www.opensecrets.org/fara

Aren't Americans justified in wondering where this money is going, how it influences policy, especially an often wreckless foreign policy that does things that many of us disagree with--whether it's Israeli actions in the West Bank or Gaza or Chinese internments of native Uighurs. Why is it acceptable to condemn lobbying from one source but not another?

Washington Post opinion writer Paul Waldman took things a step further recently:

Waldman grew up in a Zionist family, but he said he has grown increasingly “dismayed” by developments in Israel and how conversations about Israeli policy are policed in the United States.

The “smearing” of Omar, he wrote, is less about anti-Semitism and more about stifling valid questions about American foreign policy.

“When this episode is over, Omar and everyone else will have learned a lesson. You’d better not step out of line on Israel,” he wrote. “You’d better not question AIPAC. You’d better not criticize members of Congress for the craven way they deal with this issue. You’d better not talk about how policy toward Israel is made and maintained. Because if you do, this is what you’re going to get.”

As #IStandWithIlhan was trending, some of the individuals most supportive of Ilhan’s critiques of Israel included prominent voices on the Jewish left. Among them was television producer Andrew Kimmel, who tweeted: “According to many non-Jewish right-wingers & establishment dems, it has come to my attention that I (as a Jew) must be anti-Semitic b/c I criticize Israeli policies like @IlhanMN.”

Writer Sam Adler-Bell tweeted: “As a Jew, I am sick of politicians using my identity as fodder to smear young leaders of color. I know antisemitism when I see it. I’ve seen a lot of it lately. None of it from @IlhanMN.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/07/progressive-jews-worry-that-criticism-rep-ilhan-omar-will-stifle-debate-about-israel/?utm_term=.7e9ccafabf3f

2 ( +2 / -0 )

At almost the exact same time Speaker Pelosi brings an anti-bigotry resolution to the floor for a vote, representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sends out a campaign email proclaiming "the Jews are out to get her".

Fake news from a far right website. Ugh.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it’s okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. I want to ask why is it okay for me to talk about the influence of the NRA (National Rifle Association), of fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policies?” Omar said.

That's not antisemitic. Omar isn't criticizing Judaism, Jewish culture or Jewish-Am ppl but groups such as AIPAR, AEI, WINEP etc who spruik/spread/support ultra-right pro-Israel propaganda, policies & parties 24/7 (on us soil).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It wasn’t clumsy. It was a very clear example of dog whistle anti-Semitism. She knew what she was doing.

Odd that you scold people that call out islamaphobia for trying to shut down discourse but are happy to call out people as anti-Semitic for engaging in discourse about Israel.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Chip Star

It’s the word Islamophobia I have a problem with. I can criticise the religion of Judaism and I don’t think I’m an anti-Semite. I can criticise Christianity but I don’t think I’m an anti-Christian bigot. I can criticise Islam but I don’t think I’m an anti-Muslim bigot. The word islamophobia tries to muddy the waters by lumping in criticising an ideology with racism and bigotry. It is a word used to shut down conversation about a set of ideas by labeling the speaker a racist and a bigot. The left, and I see myself as on the left, has a bad habit of doing this.

I’ll call out anti-Muslim bigotry and I have on this site.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Jimizo:

Thanks for the post, and for its reasonablness.

"Islamaphobia" is no more powerful than "anti-Semitic." Both words have the same effects that you only attribute to "Islamaphobia." Or, as you put it:

The word anti-Semitic tries to muddy the waters by lumping in criticising an ideology with racism and bigotry. It is a word used to shut down conversation about a set of ideas by labeling the speaker a racist and a bigot.

The left, and I see myself as on the left, has a bad habit of doing this.

Agreed 100%.

Mods: Please do allow Jimizo's post to stand. It's informative and he should be allowed to defend himself.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Chip Star

Thank you.

I’d say there is a clear difference between the terms anti-Semitic and Islamophobic. Anti-Semitism is clear discrimination against a people. Islamophobic is defined as dislike of Islam, Muslims and political Islam. It is a term so broad it can actually encompass practicing Muslims who are against political Islam.

I just think the expression anti-Muslim bigotry is the right term to use.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Jimizo:

Fair enough. I completely disagree with your distinction between islamaphobia and anti-semitism. That said, we both know where we stand and I don't think it's that far apart substantively.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Jimizo

My bad. I re-read what I wrote, and it was not clear.

Anyone can criticize Israel for whatever reason, whether warranted or unwarranted. It's a free country

If you are an American politician, and you want to criticize Israel, you are touching a third rail. I think that is not right, but that don't change a thing. It's a third rail.

I think it prudent to tread carefully around third rails.

Omar is young and new to congress. She touched that third rail. She did it quite ham-fistedly. Either she was familiar with the Semitic tropes about scheming, disloyal, money grubbing Jews and didn't think her comments through, or was unaware/ignorant of the those tropes. (There is little to no evidence other than her two tweets that she embraces the the third possibility, that she embraces those anti-Semitic views) Either way, she stepped in it.

And now the its about her, and anti-Semitism and not the real problems, which are

1) US policy towards Israel is broken

2) Money in politics is corroding our democracy.

That is a blunder.

Until things change, I think it best to let American Jewish politicians lead the when it comes to taking on AIPAC, and the Christian Zionists.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I just think the expression anti-Muslim bigotry is the right term to use.

Other nations/languages use terms such as 'anti-Islamist' for that (which is imo much clearer). I think mainstream anglo media (and pollies) often misuse these terms i.e they say anti-semitic when they mean anti-sionist & Islamophobes when they really mean anti-Islamists. Not the same meaning - at all.

What Omar said/meant could very well be interpreted as anti-sionist, but defo not as anti-semitic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Omar gloating on the news that a declaration against Islamophobia was the final result of her own anti-Semitic comments.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Hmm. The only representatives who voted against the resolution were 23 Republicans, while Rep. Steve King — a demonstrated racist — voted "present." One might wonder the causes of this opposition.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Because a Democrat making racist statements leads to the creation of a resolution telling EVERYOne to not say anything racist. to like 10 different groups who were uninvolved in the racist Dem statements. One can’t even tell what was the impetus for this resolution to even be needed.

The racist involved is cheering the situation as it obviously isn’t about her or her statements at all. It actually supports the message that she wanted portrayed. What’s next, Dems lecturing everyone to not wear blackface or not to create fake racial attacks?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Yes, the generational divide has caught the Democratic 'Leadership' as off guard as the generational divide caught the police off guard when they raided the Stonewall Inn 50 years ago. They thought they'd be able to lay a whooping on her/them for speaking out/acting out against established discrimination, and, while still giving her/them some roughing up, were forced to dial it back because not only did their target fight back, those they expected to stand by in fear or indifference didn't let it be the one-sided event it usually had been.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't mind people being critical of others' beliefs or the policies of organizations. Freedom of speech.

You don't need to be a Jew to be critical of Jewish organizations doing things you disagree about.

You don't need to be a Muslim to be critical of Islamic organizations doing things you disagree about.

You don't need to be a Democrat to be critical of Democratic organizations doing things you disagree about.

You don't need to be a Libertarian to be critical of Libertarian organizations doing things you disagree about.

You don't need to be a Gun lover to be critical of the Pro-Firearm organizations doing things you disagree about.

You don't need to be Japanese to be critical of Japanese organizations doing things you disagree about.

See how that works? Pick any topic.

Ilhan Omar is allowed to be critical, if she likes.

I think the US is foolish for allowing foreign agents access to sway our political leaders outside treaty and defense discussions. Should be illegal to lobby Congress as a non-citizen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The way this resolution has been created makes it obvious that Speaker Pelosi has lost control of the U.S. House. Elected democrats are no longer walking in lock-step to her demands. It's just as obvious that Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have become the de facto speakers of the House. The Democrat Party isn't divided, it's imploding.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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