Numerous analyses of Rep. Omar’s comments at a bookstore last week rely on two mistaken arguments:
- Claiming it is anti-semitic to question the reasons that US policy de-prioritizes equal rights for Palestinians, while providing one-sided support to Israel..
- Willful blindness towards the fact that most reflexive support for the right-wing Israeli government comes from evangelical christians and the right-wing politicians they support.
Right-wing Republicans have weaponized this confusion and used it to mount bad-faith attacks on Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib. They are doing this partly to obscure their own party’s tolerance and penchant for various forms of hatred. It’s a particularly Trumpian tactic, accusing others when criticized.
That’s right, a GOP member yelled “Go back to Puerto Rico” and there was no uproar to rebuke or censure for this person.
A senior member openly campaigned on “sending Obama home to Kenya” and there were no reprimands, no rebukes, no censures.
But all Rep. Omar has to do is raise questions about US policy towards Israel-Palestine and why it undermines equal rights for Palestinians, hey presto there’s a resolution every month to police her tone.
Ms. Omar questioned why it was acceptable for her to speak critically about the political influence of the National Rifle Association, fossil fuel industries and “big pharma,” but not the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. — www.nytimes.com/…
Rep. Omar’s questions are having an impact, they have even prompted the NY Times to ask:
Ilhan Omar’s Criticism Raises the Question: Is Aipac Too Powerful?
“It is so disingenuous of some of these members of Congress who are lining up to condemn these questioning voices as if they have no campaign finance interest in the outcome,” said Brian Baird, a former Democratic congressman from Washington State, who became a vocal critic of Israel, and Aipac, after a constituent of his was killed by an Israeli Army bulldozer in Gaza while protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes in 2003.
“If one dares to criticize Israel or dares to criticize Aipac, one gets branded anti-Semitic,” Mr. Baird added, “and that’s a danger to a democratic republic.” […]
But in a recent article in The Nation, M.J. Rosenberg, who worked for Aipac in the 1980s and is now a critic of the organization, described how “Aipac’s political operation is used precisely as Representative Omar suggested,” including during policy conferences, when members gather “in side rooms, nominally independent of the main event,” to raise money and “decide which candidate will get what.” […]
But other lawmakers bristle at Aipac’s tactics. In 2006, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, who has advocated humanitarian aid for Palestinians, wrote an angry letter to Mr. Kohr saying Aipac would be barred from her offices until it apologized for the behavior of one of its representatives who had berated her chief of staff, Bill Harper, and said Ms. McCollum’s “support for terrorists will not be tolerated.”
Jeremy Scahill lays out why it is so important that we not fall for bad-faith attacks on Rep. Omar, who as a child refugee, understand the real world impact of our destructive foreign policies better than most.
And I’ll give Rep. Omar the last word: