In these days of dishonest knee-jerk attacks from the left, it is necessary to inoculate against the false accusations of some “ism” – you know, racism, sexism, etc. — if you offer up ANY criticism of ANY member of a group sheltered by political correctness. So, I must first explain that I am not anti-Semitic. In fact, not long ago, I wrote a commentary on how much I love Jews – as a culture, as employers and as close personal friends. I have been an unwavering supporter of Israel.
With that said, I will proceed to the subject of this commentary.
Recently, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar issued a public statement comparing actions of the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban – two designated international terrorist organizations. There is no misunderstanding what she believes. She made it perfectly clear. Here is what Omar wrote.
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
As you might imagine that little Tweet set off a political tsunami of criticism from Republicans and a lot of Democrats – as it should have. In fact, most of the Jewish members of Congress issued a letter of condemnation. In their open letter, they said, “Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided…”
The letter went on to point out that “… false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups.” Those members of Congress are literally accusing Omar of aiding and abetting terrorists.
Criticism of Omar came from the top ranks of congressional Democrats – including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They issued their own statement, which began with a bit of political sugar-coating.
“Legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate. And indeed, such criticism is essential to the strength and health of our democracies …”
It then got to the point.
“But drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all.”
The statement was nothing more than platitudes since it did name Omar. And since that supposed rebuke, Pelosi as called Omar “a valuable member” of the Democratic caucus.
Under mounting pressure, Omar issued a “clarification” – but only after initially attacking the letter, from her Jewish colleagues by saying that it contained “Islamophobia tropes.”
In her “clarification,” Omar said (highlights added):
“To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those [International Criminal Court] cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel.”
Really. Take a moment and go back and re-read what Omar tweeted. (I’ll wait). Did you see her claim that she was not making a “moral comparison?” Me neither.
Now here is where I get in trouble with the political correctness police – and subject myself to the slander as anti-Semitic by those who have a genetic hatred for anything conservative.
I found the response from the Jewish members of the Democrat caucus in Congress to be … well … a bit wimpish — snd the quick acceptance of Omar’s “clarification” more than slightly pathetic. It got worse when Democrat Congresswoman Kim Schrier appeared on CNN as one of the signers of the letter calling out Omar.
Schrier generally accepted Omar’s explanation and cautioned that members of Congress – and people in general – must be careful how they say things. Hearing Schrier, I was reminded of Jews in Nazi Germany who did not stand up to Hitler – some of whom were even too cozy with the regime for personal and political reasons.
There were no calls from Democrats in Congress to boot Omar off the Foreign Relations Committee as was done to Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. And arguably, Omar’s comments have been far more disloyal, dishonest and dangerous than Greene’s – although I am not defending Greene’s crackpot statements.
Omar’s tweet was NOT an inadvertent or one-off poor choice of words. She was tweeting what she believes. How do we know that? We know it because Omar has consistently and repeatedly expressed her anti-Semitic views – views starkly in opposition to American interests and policies.
It is by far not the first time that she had to be called out by her fellow Democrats – and Republicans. There was no resolution by the full body condemning Omar’s tweet. And you will recall that the previous resolution was also a generalization against Omar-type comments without specifically naming Omar for what she had said. What utter cowardice.
Even more disturbing is the fact that her anti-Semitic rants have been defended by other Democrats who also manifest anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments – most notably Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pramila Jayapal and Ayanna Pressley, Minnesota, New York, Washington State and Massachusetts, respectively.
In this instance, they again sided with Omar, calling the condemnation of her remarks as sexist and racist. They accused fellow Democrats of attacking congressional women-of-color. They and a few other Democrat members have become what might be called the anti-Israel caucus – maybe even the anti-Semitic caucus in Congress.
And yet, the Jewish Democrats in Congress treat Omar’s clearly hostile and inappropriate language with dangerous timidity. They seem to be loyal to Party solidarity than appropriately repulsed by the Minnesota congresswoman’s obnoxious statements.
There is concern over the rise of anti-Semitic language and actions at the grassroots. The failure of the Democrat Jewish members of Congress to mount a full-court fight against the anti-Semitism in their own ranks can only encourage the cancer of anti-Semitism among the populace to spread.
Jews often relate to the Nazi experience with a poetic homily by German Lutheran cleric Martin Niemöller that concluded with “Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
While it was an admonition for all people to speak out against oppression, it places an additional burden on members of the Jewish community to speak out boldly – and take action — against anti-Semitism. It takes more than the pathetic response we have seen from the Democratic Leadership in the House – and especially the lockstep response of the Jewish members of the Democrat caucus.
I would be remiss if I did not note that the Jewish members of the Republican House caucus have called for a stronger retribution against Omar. Shame on the Jewish Democrats.
One of the mantras of the post-World War II Jewish community is to never forget the insidiousness of anti-Semitism. It appears many of the Democrat Jewish members of Congress have forgotten.
So, there ‘tis.