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Ilhan Omar Lets Rip Another Outburst of Anti-Semitism

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Congresswoman Ilhan Omar at a pres conference with U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar at a pres conference with U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Congresswomen Ilhan Omar let rip another outburst of anti-Semitism this weekend at a conference in Philadelphia where she was speaking.

Commenting at the Netroots Conference on “the situation in Palestine,” Omar declared, “What we are doing now is having hypocrisy in not celebrating non-violent movements there and condemning it [sic].”

The Twitter universe went wild, scoffing at her characterization of the Palestinian resistance movement as “non-violent.”

Omar has supported the Hamas terror organization a number of times in their violent aggression against Israel, so the tweets calling out Omar were not uncalled for, even though it’s probably not what she meant this time.

During the last Hamas onslaught against the Israeli civilian population in May 2019, after 700 rockets were fired into Israel in 48 hours, Omar tweeted her support of the Palestinian terrorists.

Similarly, in 2012, during another rocket and missile onslaught on Israeli citizens by Hamas, Omar accused Israel of “hypnotizing the world” and asked God to “awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” During the current elections which saw her vaulted into a member of Congress, she stood by that comment.

Yet, her bad grammar aside, in this speech, Omar was most likely referring to the “non-violent” yet anti-Semitic Boycott, Sanction and Divest (BDS) movement against Israel.

Which means, yet again, Omar is not only spouting but promoting anti-Semitism.

The BDS movement, which aims to strangle the Jewish state economically while at the same time calls for the flooding of Palestinians into Israel to destroy the Jewish character of the state,  has been deemed at its core an anti-Semitic movement.

This is because it fall into the definition of anti-Semitism officially adopted by the U.S. (as well as 31 other nations).

The movement’s anti-Semitism stems from the fact that it “[applies] double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of by any other democratic nation.” (Just one example: There are at least 100 land disputes across the globe that are not subject to “BDS” movements.)

When she was campaigning for her congressional seat (in a district with many Jews), Omar professed to be against the BDS movement, calling it “counteractive” since it wasn’t “helpful in getting a two-state solution.”  Yet just days after her win, Minnesota’s Rep.-Elect Ilhan Omar announced her support for the movement.

As Clarion’s Shireen Qudosi wrote at the time, “None of this came as a surprise for folks who had been paying attention to Omar.”

What has been surprising to some is the story we keep writing over and over again: the story of Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism.

To figure out why that is, we should listen to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who hails from Somalia as does Omar, and has theories about why Omar can’t stop with the anti-Semitism. Her thoughts are worth a read.

Here’s the short version:

When I was a little girl, my mom often lost her temper with my brother, with the grocer or with a neighbor. She would scream or curse under her breath “Yahud!” [Jew!] followed by a description of the hostility, ignominy, or despicable behavior of the subject of her wrath. It wasn’t just my mother; grown-ups around me exclaimed “Yahud!” the way Americans use the F-word. I was made to understand that Jews—Yahud—were all bad.

No one took any trouble to build a rational framework around the idea—hardly necessary, since there were no Jews around. But it set the necessary foundation for the next phase of my development.  

Yet, Muslim or not, immigrant or not, Ilhan Omar, as a Congressional representative of the United States of America –a country dedicated by law and in its constitution to the nondiscrimination of all peoples regardless of race, religion or color – has an obligation to get over her prejudice.

Just ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was able to accomplish that. Yet to understand the implications of Omar’s anti-Semitism, you will need to listen again to Ali, but this time, the longer answer:

The problem of Muslim anti-Semitism is much bigger than Ilhan Omar … Islamists have understood well how to couple Muslim anti-Semitism with the American left’s vague notion of “social justice.”

They have succeeded in couching their agenda in the progressive framework of the oppressed versus the oppressor. Identity politics and victimhood culture also provide Islamists with the vocabulary to deflect their critics with accusations of “Islamophobia,” “white privilege” and “insensitivity.”

A perfect illustration was the way Ms. Omar and her allies were able to turn a House resolution condemning her anti-Semitism into a garbled “intersectional” rant in which Muslims emerged as the most vulnerable minority in the league table of victimhood.

As for me, I eventually unlearned my hatred of Jews, Zionists and Israel. As an asylum seeker turned student turned politician in Holland, I was exposed to a complex set of circumstances that led me to question my own prejudices.

Perhaps I didn’t stay in the Islamist fold long enough for the indoctrination to stick. Perhaps my falling out with my parents and extended family after I left home led me to a wider reappraisal of my youthful beliefs. Perhaps it was my loss of religious faith.

In any event, I am living proof that one can be born a Somali, raised as an anti-Semite, indoctrinated as an anti-Zionist—and still overcome all this to appreciate the unique culture of Judaism and the extraordinary achievement of the state of Israel.

 If I can make that leap, so perhaps can Ms. Omar. Yet that is not really the issue at stake. For she and I are only two individuals.

The real question is what, if anything, can be done to check the advance of the mass movement that is Muslim anti-Semitism. Absent a world-wide Muslim reformation, followed by an Islamic enlightenment, I am not sure I know.

 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org