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Bari Weiss charges Ilhan Omar with ‘anti-Semitic slander’- but Israelis say these things all the time!

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New York Times columnist Bari Weiss joined the chorus of condemnation against freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar for tweeting back in 2012 that “Israel hypnotizes the world” and that it is doing “evil deeds” in Gaza (in the midst of the 2012 onslaught).

Weiss says that certain critiques “cross the line into anti-Semitism when they ascribe evil, almost supernatural powers to Israel in a manner that replicates classic anti-Semitic slanders”.

Applying the Bari Weiss measure, let us look at a small selection of prominent Israelis – journalists, politicians and intellectuals, who have ascribed “evil, almost supernatural powers” to what Israel is doing.

Haaretz journalist Amira Hass wrote a piece last year titled “In Gaza, Israel Surpasses Its Usual Evil”. So – not just occasionally evil, but routinely evil, with upsurges.

Haaretz columnist Bradley Burston wrote that “Israel’s Nation-state Law Has Redefined the Self-hating Jew”:

In the bare couple of weeks since Netanyahu cracked open the Pandora’s Box marked the nation-state law – a sealed container which had lain, rotting, reeking, and locked in a corner of his office since his current string of terms began more than eight years ago – the ills and demons which have exploded forth have rephrased the aspirations of Israeli society, poisoned its roots, betrayed, infuriated, polarized and alienated masses of the most loyal of its citizens. (My emphases).

In response to the settlement “regularization law” passed in 2017 (retroactively legalizing settler land-theft), former Likud minister Dan Meridor called the law “evil and dangerous”. Haaretz called it a “theft law.” So did Likud lawmaker Benny Begin.

Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy spoke of “Israeli evil” in promoting the spilling of “gallons of blood” two days ago, when criticizing Benny Gantz’s political campaign boasting of his role in the destruction of Gaza:

Israeli evil has already led to the commitment of plenty of war crimes. But it’s doubtful we’ve ever seen such pride in the killing of human beings and the destruction of their homes. Funerals as sales promotions? Bombed-out neighborhoods as an elections gimmick? Numbers of dead as propaganda spin? Gallons of blood on one’s hands as something to be proud of?

The late professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who was hailed by Former President Ezer Weizman as “one of the greatest figures in the life of the Jewish people and the State of Israel in recent generations” and “a spiritual conscience for many in Israel”, said the following:

The State of Israel represents the darkness of a state body, where a creature of a human form who was the president of the Supreme Court decides that the use of torture is permitted in the interest of the state.

Leibowitz was referring to the Landau Committee on torture. Leibowitz also said in that context that “there are Judeo-Nazis”.

You see the point. Usage of such expressions, which relate to “evil, almost supernatural powers”, are meant to awaken the senses and morality. Remember, Ilhan Omar was not saying that Israel was just evil. She was referring to particular deeds it was doing in Gaza – being arguably softer than for example Amira Hass.

Bari Weiss said that Omar was drawing upon an anti-Semitic trope, the “Myth of Jewish hypnosis.” Weiss is applying loose association here. Omar condemned Israeli governmental military actions, rather than “Jews” (as she keeps pointing out).

And Weiss brought up instances of anti-Semitism and sought to associate them with Omar when Omar never addressed any of those instances. Weiss desperately points to three examples of supposed “hypnosis”:

  • First the killing of Jesus, which, Weiss writes, served as “the template for the anti-Semitic conspiracy: the ability of this tiny minority to use its wiles and its proximity to power to con others into accomplishing their evil ends”.
  • Then a Nazi propaganda film by Josef Goebbels, Jud Süss, about an assimilated Jew who brings destruction to a German city. Here, Weiss maliciously puts words in Omar’s mouth: “The Jewish power to hypnotize the world, as Ms. Omar put it, is the plot of Jud Süss”. Omar  never spoke of “Jewish power,” those are Weiss’s words.
  • And third, three Jewish neocons whom Weiss says it is “common to blame” for the Iraq war (Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith).

Thus she seeks to portray Omar as a puppet on the end of some Nazi conspiracy. This is so sloppy and unfair it is vile.

Weiss’s conflation of Israel and Jews is not accidental. It really is the point of it all. Weiss seeks to protect Israel from strong condemnation by the notion that criticism is anti-Semitic. The late Israeli minister Shulamit Aloni pointed out in 2002 (to Amy Goodman) that the ‘anti-Semitic’ claim is a “trick” which “we always use” to rebuff criticism of the Israeli government.

And now Bari Weiss is using this “trick”. It’s an unfathomable irony. If Ilhan Omar had tweeted that Israel “tricks the world,” as Aloni said, then Bari Weiss would surely be making the same accusation against her and title the piece, “Ilhan Omar and the The myth of Jewish trickery”.

Oh, and speaking of trickery, let us not forget Benjamin Netanyahu, who in 2001 said on hot mic, “I know what America is. America is something that can be moved easily.” Gideon Levy’s piece about that video from 2010 is called “Tricky Bibi”. Netanyahu “thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes,” Levy wrote. That’s pretty much like saying Netanyahu thinks he can hypnotize Washington, and by that, the world. And really, it’s a fair assessment.

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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26 Responses

  1. Maximus Decimus Meridius on January 27, 2019, 5:44 pm

    It’s exactly the same modus operandi as with Corbyn in the UK.

    If any politician who issues anything more than the most tepid ‘criticisms’ of Israel becomes high-profile, their entire history, including every social media post, will be gone through with a fine tooth comb in the hope of gleefully seizing upon something which can and will be portrayed as antisemitic, even from several years ago.

    This will be used to harass and slander them not only for its own sake but pour encourager les autres. Any aspiring politician will see that any meaningful criticism of Israel creates an enormous headache, wih little tangible gain in return. And only the most committed will persevere.

    • JWalters on January 27, 2019, 6:55 pm

      This is a good way to tell if a politician is in the game for themselves or for justice.

    • Misterioso on January 28, 2019, 9:25 am

      @Maximus Decimus Meridius, et al

      Bari Weiss’s desperate, BS rant further confirms that Zionists are in panic mode. Major shifts are taking place around the world and most importantly, in America regarding “Israel.” It is finally being seen as the murderous, racist, thieving monster it is and has always been. It’s only going to get worse for them.

  2. Keith on January 27, 2019, 5:48 pm

    JONATHAN OFIR- “And third, three Jewish neocons whom Weiss says it is “common to blame” for the Iraq war (Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith).”

    And now Elliott Abrams has been appointed as a special envoy to deal with Venezuela. And what does it suggest when notorious Jewish warmongers are defended by mainstream Jews and Jewish organizations because they are Jewish? Tribal solidarity uber alles?

    • marc b. on January 27, 2019, 9:54 pm

      From his undead wife, ‘bad rachel’:

      “Then round up his captors, the slaughtering, death-worshiping, innocent-butchering, child-sacrificing savages who dip their hands in blood and use women—those who aren’t strapping bombs to their own devils’ spawn and sending them out to meet their seventy-two virgins by taking the lives of the school-bus-riding, heart-drawing, Transformer-doodling, homework-losing children of Others—and their offspring—those who haven’t already been pimped out by their mothers to the murder god—as shields, hiding behind their burkas and cradles like the unmanned animals they are, and throw them not into your prisons, where they can bide until they’re traded by the thousands for another child of Israel, but into the sea, to float there, food for sharks, stargazers, and whatever other oceanic carnivores God has put there for the purpose.”

      • Keith on January 29, 2019, 5:31 pm

        MARC B- “From his undead wife, ‘bad rachel’:”

        These are the demented ravings of someone who was at the very center of the neocom ideology. These are the people who, once again, have outsized influence on imperial policy.

        “If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a total war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” (Richard Perle)

    • oldgeezer on January 27, 2019, 11:56 pm

      @Keith @marc.b

      Wow. I know far too much about Abrams but I never knew that about his wife.

      That is a toxic mix of very dark and vile racism running in that family. And with his position it’s actually deadly for humans.

      • Misterioso on January 28, 2019, 8:34 am


        In order to be a Zionist, one must be a racist.

      • oldgeezer on January 31, 2019, 11:48 pm


        Not sure that is actually true. I think between indoctrination and peer pressure or groupthink whatever you prefer to call it there can not only be some but many zionists who will change their views once outside the bubble and control of the actual racists and fascists driving the movement.

        Maybe I’m naive but I can’t comprehend or accept that all zionists are criminal/evil. That given the facts and truth they won’t abandon zionist ideology. The ideology is absolutely inherently bad and matched the ideologies of the the kkk, nazis and mussolini.Not surprising since it was born at the same time. It’s nothing more than the Jewish equivalent of those foul and vile ideologies. But when we come to an individual zionist then I prefer to judge on an individual basis.

      • eljay on February 1, 2019, 8:01 am

        || oldgeezer: @Misterioso

        Not sure that is actually true. … ||

        I think it is true. One can’t sincerely advocate, engage in, support and/or defend racism (or supremacism) without being a racist (or a supremacist).

        But I do agree that it doesn’t mean that a person can’t change. We’ve seen testimonies here on MW from former Zionists who did just that. Hopefully many more do, too.

  3. Kay24 on January 27, 2019, 6:03 pm

    The usual double standards again. The problem is, no one pushes back and asks these zionists exactly what this article states. There are have been zionists in Israel who have said worse, even calling for Palestinians to be in concentration camps, and bombing Gaza to the stone age, so my question is, who exactly will confront them with that? There is always the sound of silence from the US media, when it comes to Israel. They are bolder when it comes to American leaders. As for Weiss, she is simply another zionist puppet, like Bret Stephens, and others, pretending to be Americans looking after American interests.
    So called American journalists who have a huge blind spot when Israel perpetrates it’s crimes against unarmed civilians. After all Palestinians are ALL terrorists, and it is okay to “defend” yourself against these unarmed kids.

    I guess they do not want to bite the hands that hire them.

    • annie on January 27, 2019, 6:17 pm

      she is simply another zionist puppet

      nah, she’s a fanatic, another caroline glick but with a smoother veneer. i don’t read her anymore, i refuse.

      • JLewisDickerson on January 27, 2019, 9:00 pm

        Yes, I think she’s an example of “The True Believer”.

        The True Believer –

      • Sibiriak on January 27, 2019, 10:31 pm

        …an example of “The True Believer”.

        Author Eric Hoffer:


        “The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchman.

        Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel , the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single one.

        Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace.

        Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world. Other nations, when they are defeated, survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed. Had Nasser triumphed last June [1967], he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews.

        No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on. There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in Rhodesia . But, when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one demonstrated against him. The Swedes, who were ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we did in Vietnam , did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews. They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troops in Norway .

        The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources.

        Yet at this moment, Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer [1967] had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war, to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.

        I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish, the Holocaust will be upon us all.”


        The great American philosopher Eric Hoffer, commenting on the Zionist Movement’s triumph in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, said: “…it is still true that their daring and reckless readiness for self-sacrifice sprang not from despair but from their fervent preoccupation with the revival of an ancient land and an ancient people. They, indeed, fought and died for cities yet to be built and gardens yet to be planted.”

      • Misterioso on January 28, 2019, 10:37 am

        @Sibiriak, et al

        Eric Hoffer’s words are a classic example of misrepresentation by omission.

        He ignores the fact that the Zionists devised a master plan to dispossess and expel Palestine’s indigenous Christian and Muslim inhabitants decades before WWII and the Jewish holocaust.

        Theodor Herzl’s diaries not only confirm that his objective was the establishment of a “Jewish state” in Palestine, but that it would be an expansionist state. In the year of his death, 1904, he described its borders as being “…in the north the mountains facing Cappadocia [Turkey], in the south, the Suez Canal [Egypt] in the east, the Euphrates [Iraq].” (Herzl, The Complete Diaries, 11 p. 711)

        In 1905, Israel Zangwill, the influential Anglo-Jewish essayist and Zionist, declared during a talk in Manchester that Palestine was “already twice as thickly populated as the United States…. [W]e must be prepared to either drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our forefathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population….” (Zangwill, Speeches, p. 210, quoted by Nur Masalah , Expulsion of the Palestinians…., 1992, p. 10)

        Zangwill proposed that the Palestinians “should be gradually transplanted” in Arab countries and at a public meeting in the same year he stated that “many [Palestinians] are semi-nomad, they have given nothing to Palestine and are not entitled to the rules of democracy.” (Jewish Chronicle, Dec. 12, 1919, Masalha, p.14)

        In 1920, Zangwill called for an “‘Arab exodus’…based on ‘race redistribution’ or a ‘trek like that of the Boers from Cape Colony,…. [It is] literally the only way out of the difficulty of creating a Jewish State in Palestine.’” He continued: “We cannot allow the Arabs to block so valuable a piece of historic reconstruction….To fold their tents and silently steal away is their proverbial habit: let them exemplify it now.” (Zangwill, The Voice of Jerusalem, p. 103, Masalha pp. 13- 14)

        Hoffer also ignored the fact that the first priority of the Zionist leader ship was not to rescue Jews from the Nazis: “In 1938, a thirty-one nation conference was held in Evian, France, on resettlement of the victims of Nazism. The World Zionist Organization refused to participate, fearing that resettlement of Jews in other states would reduce the number available for Palestine.” (“The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict,” 2nd edition, Jews for Justice in the Middle East, p. 21.)

        On 7 December 1938, during a meeting of the Mapai Central Committee, Ben-Gurion revealed his true feelings regarding the plight of German Jews: “If I knew it was possible to save all the [Jewish] children in Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second…” He also expressed his fear that “‘the human conscience’ might bring various countries to open their doors to Jewish refugees from Germany. He saw this as a threat and warned: ‘Zionism is in danger!'” (Tom Segev, The Seventh Million, Hill and Wang, New York, 1994, p. 28.)

        On 27 November 1942, the Yishuv newspaper Davar published an article that referred to the extermination of European Jews as “‘punishment from heaven’ for not having come to Palestine.” As Ben-Gurion so callously put it on 8 December 1942, during a Mapai meeting: “‘They did not want to listen to us’ ….in their deaths they had sabotaged the Zionist dream.’” (David Ben-Gurion at a gathering of Mapai workers, 8 Dec. 1942; Tom Segev)

        As for Hoffer’s statement that “….one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer [1967] had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war,” he ignores that fact that Israel started the war.

        Prime Minister Menachem Begin, former Minister without portfolio in PM Levi Eshkol’s cabinet, while addressing Israel’s National Defence College on 8 August 1982: “In June, 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” (New York Times, 21 August 1982)

        Prime Minister Eshkol: “The Egyptian layout in the Sinai and the general military buildup there testified to a military defensive Egyptian set-up south of Israel.” (Yediot Aharonot, l8 October 1967)

        Israeli Chief of Staff Rabin: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.” (Le Monde, 25 February, 1968)

        Robert McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defence: “Three separate intelligence groups had looked carefully into the matter [and] it was our best judgment that a UAR attack was not imminent.” (The Vantage Point, Lyndon Johnson, p. 293)

      • Keith on January 29, 2019, 11:21 am

        SIBIRIAK- “…an example of “The True Believer”.

        Indeed, an excellent example of Zionist paranoia and extreme Judeocentrism where World War II is seen as little more than one big pogrom, the culmination of 2000 years of hatred of the Jews by the intrinsically evil Goyim.

    • JWalters on January 27, 2019, 6:27 pm

      “There is always the sound of silence from the US media, when it comes to Israel.”

      That’s the sound of good men and women being silent, enabling evil to succeed.

  4. JWalters on January 27, 2019, 6:11 pm

    “This is so sloppy and unfair it is vile.”

    Thank you for that absolutely spot on assessment of Bari’s “case”. This is a great article throughout. Thank you.

    And it is not Omar’s fault that Israel acts “in a manner that replicates classic anti-Semitic slanders” (and flagrantly so). That is Israel’s fault.

    For Omar (or anyone) to describe those actions is essential to discuss them. Bari Weiss runs away from discussing someone else’s description by claiming it resembles a stereotype from a past situation. But what if it is an accurate description? Omar must be allowed to use it. What if the stereotype in the past was based to some degree on truth? Bari Weiss blocks her mind from encountering such realities by running away. Most importantly, she blocks her mind from encountering the very real Zionist campaign of terrorism against the indigenous people of Palestine.

    • gamal on January 27, 2019, 7:11 pm

      Weiss is no Marzieh Hashemi and I see that Hassan Nasrallah is censored by FB for Anti-Americanism…keep calm carry on…

      “Free Speech, Hassan Nasrallah, and Other Victims of Internet Censorship
      by Chris Wright

      “…..But the main victim of this creeping McCarthyism has been, of course, the cause of the Palestinians, and more generally anyone who objects to Israel’s decades-long orgy of bloodlust.

      Whether on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, or other platforms, entities resisting Israel are regularly denied a voice. Hamas’s armed wing isn’t permitted an account on Twitter, while the Israeli army is. Facebook blocks Palestinian groups so often—including Fatah and leading media outlets in the West Bank—that they have their own hashtag, #FBcensorsPalestine. Given that these media near-monopolies are an essential means of reaching followers and spreading a message, such censorship has a very destructive effect.

      Recent outrages concern suppression of the voice of Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah. A year ago YouTube suspended a popular channel that broadcast, and provided translations of, speeches of Hassan Nasrallah, among other “anti-American” leaders (Putin, Assad, etc.). The channel, which had over 400 videos, had 10,000 subscribers and had racked up more than six million views, and was growing in popularity. YouTube’s pretext for its suspension was “violation of the rules concerning graphic or violent content.” More specifically, three videos of Nasrallah’s speeches were deemed offensive: one was titled “ISIS is Israel’s ally and aims [at] Mecca and Medina,” the second was titled “We are about to liberate Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and all of Palestine,” and the third was called “The next war will change the face of the region.” It would be hard to argue that anything in these speeches was particularly “graphic or violent,” for they contain little but sensible political analysis and exhortations to resist a brutally violent neighboring state.”

      • JWalters on January 27, 2019, 8:53 pm

        The US Constitution grants Congress the specific right to maintain “post roads”, to make sure people can communicate with each other. This is fundamental to citizens discussing, mutually informing, and organizing. This lesson was clear in resisting the British Empire, when Committees of Correspondence carried communications among the colonists along these roads.

        The internet is the network of post roads today. The people’s Congress thus has the right to make sure the public has a functioning, modern communication system that is as open, available, and uncensored as the 1st Amendment in the Constitution declares.

    • Citizen on January 27, 2019, 9:51 pm

      And, with Joe Rogan, Bari Weiss did it while appearing girlish, innocent, vulnerable, sincere, and well-intentioned. She completely disarmed Joe, and did it for over three hours–a significant chunk of the conversation was about Israel/Palestine.
      It was as if the beautiful, clinical, extremely well-informed Abby Martin had never sat there directly across from Joel, talking about the same issues, and for just as long, if not longer.

  5. Boomer on January 28, 2019, 7:28 am

    Thanks, Mr. Ofir, for an excellent and important analysis.

  6. CigarGod on January 28, 2019, 12:34 pm

    Bari Weiss: Mean, stupid, ignorant and greedy.
    That is what will destroy us.

  7. Qualtrough on January 29, 2019, 1:20 am

    It is long past time that we recognize that all criticism of Israel/Zionism is in and of itself anti-semetic. I have asked supporters to offer examples of acceptable criticism of Israel/Zionism a number of times and have never, ever received a reply. They are caught in a trap, because any criticism that they might find acceptable would almost certainly not fall under any definition of criticism.

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