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‘I am told I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel’ and that’s problematic — Ilhan Omar stands strong amid blizzard of attacks

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Ilhan Omar’s statement last week about the role of the Israel lobby– “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country” — has ignited a firestorm of criticism, including from House Democratic colleagues such as Eliot Engel, chair of House Foreign Affairs, who called on her to apologize for a “vile, anti-semitic slur.” Engel is a regular at the Israel lobby organization AIPAC, where he has promised to keep support for Israel bipartisan.

Nita Lowey has also been outspoken against her colleague:

Lawmakers must be able to debate w/o prejudice or bigotry. I am saddened that Rep. Omar continues to mischaracterize support for Israel. I urge her to retract this statement and engage in further dialogue with the Jewish community on why these comments are so hurtful.

Lowey is also an AIPAC regular. That event was closed to the public, in a Westchester temple.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz has also slammed her colleague:

Sadly, misunderstandings over anti-Semitic, hurtful comments continue, as does hateful Islamaphobic rhetoric. Dialogue leads to understanding. @IlhanMN, repeated misunderstandings would seem to require dialogue to avoid repetitive harm.

Wasserman Schultz led the cheers for Netanyahu when he came to the Congress in 2011 and defended settlements against the pressure from President Obama. She and Eliot Engel have embraced Israeli rightwinger Naftali Bennett, who is now leading the charge to annex the West Bank.

Ilhan Omar has stood strong. Here is her thread from yesterday afternoon, responding to Nita Lowey. Note that she calls out her colleagues for being silent. Note that she finds it problematic that “I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel.” And she knows many agree with her. “I just happen to be willing to speak up.”

Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that!

I have not mischaracterized our relationship with Israel, I have questioned it and that has been clear from my end.

I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.

My Americanness is questioned by the President and the on a daily basis, yet my colleagues remain silent. I know what it means to be American and no one will ever tell me otherwise.

I am in the Horn of Africa this weekend, proud to see peace prosper here and to be part of the first American delegation to Eritrea🇪🇷 in decades is one I am grateful for. I fight peace and justice because only those who experience the pain of war, know the joy of peace. ✊🏽

Being opposed to Netanyahu and the occupation is not the same as being anti-Semitic. I am grateful to the many Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same.
We must be willing to combat hate of all kinds while also calling out oppression of all kinds. I will do my best to live up to that. I hope my colleagues will join me in doing the same.

Many are standing up for Omar. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, is about the only one in the Congress though:

[email protected]’s strength inspires me and so many. She is being targeted just like many civil rights icons before us who spoke out about oppressive policies. As she uplifts my Sity [Tlaib’s grandmother in Palestine] and other Palestinians in the name of justice and peace, she shows us real courage.

The progressive base is with Omar, in yet another sign that the party will divide over Israel. Jim Zogby writes:

This thread by @IlhanMN is absolutely amazing. It is a must read. She is so strong. Thank you Ilhan. You are opening a debate we’ve needed, and have not allowed critics who defame you or threats to silence you.

Nancy Pelosi has evidently been silent on this occasion but called on Omar to apologize on the last occasion, when Omar said that money drives the Israel support. Omar did apologize then.

Ali Abunimah writes.

Pelosi is happy to use @IlhanMN for self-serving “diversity” propaganda but not prepared to defend her against the Israel lobby’s racist, Islamophobic defamation that Omar is “anti-Semitic.” In fact Pelosi joined in the smear campaign. Vile!

Pelosi tweeted out the cover of Rolling Stone March 2 with this message: “A picture is worth 1,000 words but @aoc, @IlhanMN, @JahanaHayesCT and Nancy on the cover of @RollingStone is worth millions of dreams to women and girls across America. To them we say: know your power. Know your worth. Have a plan. And be ready. #WomensHistoryMonth.”

The progressive base of the party is supporting Omar. The District Sentinel responds to Wasserman Schultz:

Ilhan did nothing wrong you putrid operative. Jews critical of Zionism are among the loudest voices decrying Congress’ slavish devotion to Israel. Stop trying to encourage a racist smear campaign just because you support apartheid in Palestine.

Ryan Grim of the Intercept responded to Lowey:

The anti-BDS bill in Congress legislatively requires Americans to be loyal to Israel or face consequences. I guess the bill is guilty of furthering anti-Semitic tropes too…

Rightwing neocons are joining the pile-on against Omar to get her out of Congress. Ari Fleischer. And here is Eli Lake.

Eli Lake piles on to Ilhan Omar.

Ken Klipperstein responds to Eli Lake with a tweet from a couple of years ago by a libertarian feminist writer:

Elizabeth Nolan Brown responds to Eli Lake.

David Roth from Deadspin says of Omar’s thanks to Jewish supporters, and her assertion that criticism of Netanyahu is not anti-semitic.

The simplest thing in the world, and not remotely objectionable. Pay attention to who the people are pretending not to understand that.

Daniel Denvir of Jacobin weighs in on the lobby’s own definition of itself as a Jewish body rather than a Zionist one.

Defend @IlhanMN.

It’s not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel and its bipartisan American supporters.

What *is* anti-Semitic is her critics’ assumption that AIPAC/Netanyahu speak on behalf all American Jews, and that the Israel lobby is in fact a “Jewish lobby”—which it is not.

Eoin Higgins scores the racism:

Let’s be honest with ourselves. The continued attacks on @IlhanMN are based primarily in her race and religion and less in what she said.

“It’s great that a lot of liberals dismiss Ilhan’s legitimate criticism of the Israeli lobby as just being a dumb immigrant,” writes a “leftist vet” Fired4Troop

Jonathan Chait and Josh Marshall pile on to Ilhan Omar as being from an immigrant community.

Bret Stephens of the Times of course also saw anti-Semitism in Omar’s statement.

Nobody expects to pledge “allegiance” to Israel. But her attacks on pro-Israel Americans of doing so is a charge of dual loyalty. That is classic anti-Semitism.

Eli Clifton points to the allegiance issues inherent in Stephens’s own calls for Jews to support Israel:

Was it anti-Semitic when Bret Stephens said “it is a scandal, it seems to me, if we fail to live up to the promise of our American citizenship to do all we can to assure the survival of the Jewish state and the Jewish people”?

Remi Kanazi:

Bret Stephens refers to Arabs as diseased: Still has a job at the New York Times

Ilhan Omar criticizes Israel & lobby groups: She’s smeared, receives death threats, and is told to get out of the country

The lesson: Anti-Black, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim bigotry is of no concern

Tony Karon makes the point that Israel demands dual loyalty of the farflung members of its nation. His response to Stephens:

Oh? And when Israel demands to be recognized as “the national home of the Jewish people” despite the fact that the majority of us are part of the nations in which we live, that’s not anti-Semitism? Israel literally demands dual loyalty from Jewish Americans

It looks like we’re getting a real debate over the role of the Israel lobby, thanks to the courage and outspokenness of one politician, Ilhan Omar. And the debate is sure to get stronger as it tears at the Democratic Party.

Thanks to Adam Horowitz and Scott Roth. 

Correction: This post originally stated that Elizabeth Bowen Brown’s tweet was a response to Eli Lake’s tweet about Omar. She tweeted about Lake more than two years ago. The date was right on her tweet…

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59 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay on March 4, 2019, 10:59 am

    … Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that!

    I have not mischaracterized our relationship with Israel, I have questioned it and that has been clear from my end.

    I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.

    My Americanness is questioned by the President and the @GOP on a daily basis, yet my colleagues remain silent. I know what it means to be American and no one will ever tell me otherwise.

    I am in the Horn of Africa this weekend, proud to see peace prosper here and to be part of the first American delegation to Eritrea🇪🇷 in decades is one I am grateful for. I fight peace and justice because only those who experience the pain of war, know the joy of peace. ✊🏽

    Being opposed to Netanyahu and the occupation is not the same as being anti-Semitic. I am grateful to the many Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same.
    We must be willing to combat hate of all kinds while also calling out oppression of all kinds. I will do my best to live up to that. I hope my colleagues will join me in doing the same. …

    Beautifully and eloquently said.

    With no moral leg to stand on, Zionists – hateful and immoral hypocrites that they are – will continue to do what they have always done: Smear people with baseless and destructive accusations of anti-Semitism. Attack and destroy.

    I hope Ms. Omar stands strong in the face of Zionist evil.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso on March 5, 2019, 8:54 am

      @eljay, etal

      Interesting:

      Short video:

      The Majority Report w/ Sam Seder
      Published on Feb 12, 2019

      “Let’s let Thomas Friedman explain why Ilhan Omar’s comments on Israel and AIPAC are fundamentally true. Sam Seder and the Majority Report crew discuss this.”

      Friedman appears at the 1:39 mark.

      __________________________________________________

      Also, this video, with Kim Iverson, published on Feb. 12/19

      “Rep Ilhan Omar tells the truth about pro-Israel AIPAC and gets smeared.”

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen on March 5, 2019, 12:30 pm

        Whoa Friedmann standing on the facts without trying to throw a curve ball.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso on March 5, 2019, 12:48 pm

      From The New York Times:

      “Ilhan Omar’s Criticism Raises the Question: Is Aipac Too Powerful?”

      “The representative’s jab that money drives support for Israel earned her reproach, but it also revived a fraught debate in Washington over the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/04/us/politics/aipac-congress-democrats.html

      • Brewer
        Brewer on March 6, 2019, 4:34 am

        Significant. The press and the pollies have a common interest. Both must remain on the side of public opinion to survive. Some real conflicts here. Buy shares in carpet – the worry-rooms in high places will need a re-lay..
        I may not live to see a free Palestine but future Historians may well write of Ilhan Omar’s stance as a watershed moment.

  2. amigo
    amigo on March 4, 2019, 12:09 pm

    I wonder if congressman Jordan.s anti semitic tweet will garner the same level of attention as Omar,s.

    “Ohio Republican and House Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan tweeted a common anti-Semitic trope implying that Jewish billionaire Tom Steyer was influencing House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler .

    Both Nadler and Steyer have Jewish roots, which led to immediate condemnation of Jordan for using a dollar sign instead of an “S” in Steyer’s last name. ” haartez.

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/republican-congressman-tweets-anti-semitic-attack-on-leading-democrat-investigating-1.6984926

    No paywall.

    I am taking bets , it never sees the light of day .He is not an “Other” and such people are not called to account because they kiss the Zionist butt.

    Zionist hypocracy at it,s finest.

    • eljay
      eljay on March 4, 2019, 1:18 pm

      || amigo: I wonder if congressman Jordan.s anti semitic tweet will garner the same level of attention as Omar,s. … ||

      So…according to the story:
      – In a tweet, Jordan replaced the ‘S’ in a billionaire’s name with a dollar sign (‘$’).
      – Jordan wrote nothing about the religious/ethnic/civilizational identity of the billionaire.
      – People other than Jordan immediately and anti-Semitically “singled out” the billionaire as Jewish.
      – These people then used the billionaire’s identity – the one they anti-Semitically “singled out” – to smear Jordan with accusations of anti-Semitism.

      Huh.

    • kylebisme
      kylebisme on March 5, 2019, 4:18 am

      Are you suggesting that referring to the fact that Tom Steyer invested over $73 million dollars in the last election is inherently bigoted, or simply suggesting that the way Jim Jordan did so is? And regardless, do you consider Omar’s “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” bigoted too or what do you contend is the difference?

      https://www.opensecrets.org/overview/topindivs.php

      • amigo
        amigo on March 5, 2019, 10:43 am

        Kylebisme.
        Who are you addressing ???.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on March 5, 2019, 2:35 pm

        “It’s all about the Benjamins baby”

        Yes, but the sequel to the 1980 film dealing with Benjamin’s post military career was never released.

  3. John Douglas
    John Douglas on March 4, 2019, 5:32 pm

    Is it possible that one brave and smart Muslim woman, backed by the good people who elected her in the face of Islamophobia, could bring down the entire edifice of fake charges of anti-Semitism that has so effectively served to quiet what everyone knows, that the Israeli treatment of Palestinians is a horrendous crime? The attacks on her are amazing to watch, panic in the American Zionist trenches that only serve to expose what has been hidden for so long.

    • Talkback
      Talkback on March 4, 2019, 7:11 pm

      She has to start attacking those who are trying to smear her and expose the real reasons for their smearing which has absolutely nothing to do with fighting antisemitism. Otherwise she won’t survive.

    • JWalters
      JWalters on March 4, 2019, 7:20 pm

      It could happen. An avalanche starts with a single pebble. And the ground may be prepared for it.

      As former Senator James Abourezk wrote, “I can tell you from personal experience that, at least in the Congress, the support Israel has in that body is based completely on political fear — fear of defeat by anyone who does not do what Israel wants done. I can also tell you that very few members of Congress — at least when I served there — have any affection for Israel or for its Lobby. What they have is contempt, but it is silenced by fear of being found out exactly how they feel. I’ve heard too many cloakroom conversations in which members of the Senate will voice their bitter feelings about how they’re pushed around by the Lobby to think otherwise. In private one hears the dislike of Israel and the tactics of the Lobby, but not one of them is willing to risk the Lobby’s animosity by making their feelings public.”
      http://ifamericaknew.org/us_ints/pg-abourezk.html

      They say Nancy Pelosi is an expert vote counter. I have this image of Nancy stepping up to the microphone.

      Nancy: “Okay everybody, we all know what’s going on here. It’s time to take off the masks. It’s time to restore our democracy. And we must thank this immigrant Muslim woman of color for showing us what real American citizenship looks like.”

    • just
      just on March 4, 2019, 7:27 pm

      Great comment and question, John. To your question ~ yes it is possible, but only when she gets the support she deserves and the Democratic establishment keeps their zio- hands off! So far they’ve despaired and wrung their zio- hands while hollering ‘hurt, painful, offensive, etc.’ with regard to the truths that she speaks. It’s maddening.

      “Democrats to Submit anti-Semitism Resolution in Response to Ilhan Omar’s ‘Vile Slur’

      Resolution from Omar’s own party comes after the congresswoman doubles down on ‘dual loyalty’ comments, implying that support for Israel constitutes ‘allegiance to a foreign country’ …

      Meanwhile, senior Democrats went to work drafting a resolution responding to Omar’s remarks. It was still being written Monday, according to an aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss text that was not final. The resolution would be introduced on Wednesday, the aide said. It was not immediately clear whether the measure would condemn Omar’s remarks specifically or anti-Semitism generally.

      But Democrats were unmistakably weary of dealing with Omar’s habit of inflaming what had long been a divide in the party over the U.S. relationship with Israel. Last month, Omar ignited a bipartisan uproar in Washington and Minnesota when she suggested on Twitter that members of Congress are paid by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to support Israel. AIPAC is a nonprofit organization that works to influence U.S. policy. …”

      https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-democrats-to-submit-anti-semitism-resolution-in-response-to-ilhan-omar-1.6995625?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      I wonder how many Democrats are grateful for Omar’s honesty. I am sure there are some that might finally find their backbone and voice. How many will show up at AIPAC? This conversation is way overdue, and the Palestinian people have suffered and died throughout it all. How is it that the Palestinians don’t whine and only epitomize dignity and sumud? It’s quite obvious, imho.

      • Brewer
        Brewer on March 5, 2019, 1:00 am

        When it becomes politically expedient, when it is demonstrated that Ilhan Omar’s stance is a vote getter – Walls come tumbling down.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr on March 4, 2019, 8:26 pm

      The problem with an avalanche is it cuts both ways. But Omar seems to be representing the views of those that elected her so in effect, she’s doing her job. that the left leaning US msn has been fawning over her and the right leaning msm is demonizing her just adds to her popularity. There is no viable political strategy to contain her youthful exuberance and empowerment of her election. She may become a bigger influence in ways the right or the left may not imagine. She hasn’t even had time to take a breath or get her footing. She’s already being manipulated by the Democrat leadership. But that’s the only way she can make her own future mark as partisan two party politics rule the U.S. as far as the near future is concerned. She may be a product of her education and upbringing but afaics, she is open to all points of views and shows no sign of close mindedness.

      If she hasn’t already, she will soon know that there are lobbies in D.C. that eclipse the power of aipac by multiples of ten.

      • annie
        annie on March 4, 2019, 9:10 pm

        i wasn’t aware there was a “left leaning US msn”

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr on March 4, 2019, 10:44 pm

        @a

        If your not joking or referring to “msn” as opposed to msm there is not much to say, in fact, nothing at all which should please quite a few here.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on March 5, 2019, 3:27 am

        “If she hasn’t already, she will soon know that there are lobbies in D.C. that eclipse the power of aipac by multiples of ten.”

        DeBakr, name such lobbies that exist to represent a foreign county.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso on March 5, 2019, 10:25 am

        @DaBakr

        Ilhan Omar has opened the door much wider and further revealed the racism and fascism of Zionism and its spawn, “Israel,” as well as AIPAC’s close manipulative relationship with bought and paid for American politicians. The writing is on the wall. The anti-Semitic smear against those who rightfully stand with the long suffering indigenous Palestinians is rapidly wearing thin. The stream will inevitably become a flood. In the long run, Americans are like all peoples, they will only put up with being played for suckers for so long.

      • pjdude
        pjdude on March 5, 2019, 4:27 pm

        name another lobby that has 95=% of congress people toeing there line? while aipac is only one part of the pro israel lobby the pro israel lobby is the most powerful lobby in the us.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr on March 6, 2019, 4:17 am

        Oil. (Foreign and national interests) big pharma (why do you think Americans pay ten times more for insulin then any other nation when they make 95% of it?) Monsanto, insurance industry (in Democrat pocket) same with lawyers (who represent other foreign interests) . How about the EU lobbying Obama for the Iran deal? You understand there are so many lobbies in D.C. they pay ordinary folks from the neighborhoods to wait in lines in the capital? I could go on but your to single minded and obsessed to understand that the only lobby that’s harassed more then aipac by social justice warriors like MW is aipac and y’all believe it has nothing to do with Jews or jew hate.

      • pjdude
        pjdude on March 7, 2019, 10:45 pm

        @dabakr. none of those you mention have the near 100% lock step as the pro israel lobby. oil is almost an exclusively a republican one big pharma doesn’t have everyone. how do you think medicare for all gets brought up. we spend more for insulin and other stuff because republicans think profit is the most important part of healthcare. insurance is not 100% you still have people pushing against it.

        as for the Iran deal i suggest you learn the difference between diplomacy and lobbying.

        I know all about other lobbies i think they all should be removed and stop writing laws.

        and no aipac isn’t harrassed more than other lobby’s. im sorry you think it should be illegal to criticize anything jewish but its not. the pro israel lobby needs to be stopped just as mucgh as the gun nut lobby and the oil lobby and the pharmacutical lobby. no had ever said its antiamerican to be against oil they have said its anti american to not support israel.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr on March 8, 2019, 7:44 am

        @p

        Read recent tablet magazine (hardly a right wing mag) for a more nuanced description of how supposedly powerful aipac is, or isn’t actually. as for your “lockstep” comment and that Israel is a foreign power you might consider that the majority of Congress considers supporting Israel as a primary American interest and that other nations lobby the US for advanced weaponry and aid that are not generally considered loyal allies. That you and other anti zionists personally don’t like Israel does not mean congress is “lock step”. It means your frustrated they don’t skew to your radical pov.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso on March 5, 2019, 9:54 am

      https://www.juancole.com/2019/03/bankrupt-arkansas-boycott.html

      “Israel Lobbies slam Ilhan Omar even as they Try to Bankrupt small Leftist Arkansas Paper over Israel Boycott”

      By Juan Cole, Informed comment, March 3/19

      “First-term Congresswoman Ilhan Omar refuses to back down on her criticism of the Washington Establishment for demanding that representatives ‘pledge allegiance’ to Israel or risk being smeared as un-American.

      “But she is right. The Israel lobbies that direct campaign money to representatives and senators insist that Israeli policy of imposing Jim Crow discrimination on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories never be criticized on the floor of Congress. They also insist that the US give Israel, a relatively wealthy country, $3 billion in aid every year on top of other extensive grants and perquisites, despite what the UN says are war crimes committed on a daily or weekly basis.

      “Omar doesn’t usually get a full hearing, so please watch the video appended below.
      “The hypocrisy of her critics on this issue is breathtaking. For nearly a year, Israeli snipers have shot down unarmed, unthreatening peaceful protesters on the Gaza side of the border, which is just murder. Israeli soldiers have killed hundreds this way, including small children, women, medics and journalists, and wounded thousands more with live ammo or military grade tear gas.

      “Washington is upset about Saudi Arabia killing one journalist. Israeli snipers have killed several, and wounded hundreds!

      “To tell you the truth, even I am shocked at the lack of consequences for Israel’s far right Likud government, which just formed an electoral alliance with a notorious terrorist group, affiliates of which have been branded terrorists by the US government.

      “If a country with no US domestic constituency behaved this way, the Washington elite would be clamoring to invade it and take over its natural resources.

      “Not only are no sanctions being placed on Israel for these naked war crimes but the lawmakers in the US are willing to take large scissors to the US Constitution on behalf of the Likud Party, protecting it from any civil society attempt to hold it accountable.

      “Ben Kesslen at NBC News reports that the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College cancelled their ads with Little Rock’s Arkansas Times because owner Alan Leveritt won’t sign a pledge that his business does not boycott Israel. Leveritt doesn’t boycott Israel, but he considers a state law passed by Arkansas and 27 other states to be unconstitutional and he would rather risk his business than surrender his First Amendment rights.

      “Please consider supporting the Arkansas Times.

      “Back in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, the question came up of whether African-Americans were allowed to launch boycott campaigns targeting businesses that discriminated against persons of color. This question was settled by the Supreme Court in 1982 in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware, which found that nonviolent boycotting of a commercial establishment is protected speech under the First Amendment.

      “The extent is fully revealed, to which the Israel lobbies are determined to gut the US Constitution in order to protect Israel from the consequences of its ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity practiced against stateless Palestinians under its jackboot in Kesslen’s fine article. The Arkansas Republican Party and the Louis Brandeis Center both urge a betrayal of the Constitution.

      “Note that the practical effect of the Arkansas law may well be to bankrupt one of the few left-leaning newspapers in the state, pushing it even further to the right, so that the far right wing Likud Party in Israel is now shaping the press landscape in middle America. (The anti-BDS legislation is a project of the Israeli government, which behind the scenes coordinates with the powerful indigenous Israel lobbies of the US Jewish community, who are often allied with the Christian Zionists of the Evangelical movement, to lobby politicians).

      “In other states, the judiciary has been willing to issue an injunction against the legislation denying state contracts to practitioners of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) toward Israel, what with such legislation being baldly unconstitutional and all. But Arkansas is so corrupt that even its judges line up against the First Amendment, and not for the first time.

      “When Kansas fired Mennonite school teacher Esther Koontz from a program to train other teachers over her refusal to certify that she doesn’t boycott Israel (she does), the ACLU took the case to court and a Federal judge struck down the Kansas statute. The state legislature then reformulated so that it only affected big businesses under certain circumstances, which is also unconstitutional, but made it a little unlikely that the law would affect anyone.

      “The same tactic is being pursued in the Arizona legislature, after a broad anti-boycott law was struck down by the courts. The GOP is now redoing the law in such a way that it is unlikely to affect anyone in the real world and so unlikely to be further challenged.

      “Once the Arkansas law goes up to a Federal district court, it will almost certainly be struck down. But note that Mitch McConnell has been packing the Federal judiciary with the sort of judges who might well not defend the first amendment, and over time there is a danger that substantial parts of the court system will be as corrupt as that in Arkansas.”

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen on March 5, 2019, 12:34 pm

        Thanks so much for reminding me to get over to Informed Comment. Used to be one of my regular daily visits.

  4. gamal
    gamal on March 4, 2019, 6:42 pm

    “Corbyn critic claims anti-capitalism is also anti-Semitism”
    In what looks like another desperate attempt to tarnish supporters of Jeremy Corbyn as anti-Semites, a Labour MP who has already threatened to quit the party over its leader’s handling of the crises facing it has suggested that “to be anti-capitalism is to be anti-Semitic”. Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden Siobhain McDonagh made her bizarre claim in an interview on BBC Radio 4 this morning.

    When asked by the presenter, John Humphrys, if she believed that the Labour Party is taking anti-Semitism “properly seriously”, McDonagh replied: “I’m not sure that some people in the Labour Party can. It’s very much part of their politics, of hard left politics, to be against capitalists and to see Jewish people as the financiers of capital. Ergo you are anti-Jewish people.”

    Humphrys followed this up by asking, “In other words, to be anti-capitalist you have to be anti-Semitic?” The MP replied “Yes.” She then appeared to qualify her comment: “Not everybody, but there is a certain… there’s a certain strand of it. These people are not Labour, have never been Labour, but we now find them in our party.”

    READ: British Jewish organisation critical of Israel forced to cancel documentary screening

    McDonagh had threatened to resign and join the Independent Group if Corbyn did not act to reassure MPs. Members of that group accuse Labour of “institutional racism”.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190304-corbyn-critic-claims-anti-capitalism-is-also-anti-semitism/

    • JWalters
      JWalters on March 4, 2019, 7:31 pm

      “Ergo you are anti-Jewish people.”

      Definitely an F in Logic 101. Unbelievably sloppy. Even she does not believe this. No Oscar for her.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on March 4, 2019, 8:38 pm

      “to be anti-capitalism is to be anti-Semitic”.

      As goes the Right, so goes the all-rightnik.

    • Brewer
      Brewer on March 5, 2019, 12:50 am

      “Corbyn critic claims anti-capitalism is also anti-Semitism”
      There is a school of thought that holds that the demonization of Corbyn is sponsored by a broad coalition of interests including predatory capitalists, globalists (who fear a return to Social Democracy) and Israel-firsters (who fear justice for Palestine and the end to arms and financial support for Israel).

    • RoHa
      RoHa on March 5, 2019, 2:16 am

      “In other words, to be anti-capitalist you have to be anti-Semitic?” The MP replied “Yes.”

      She’s trying to make anti-Semitism look good.

  5. Peter in SF
    Peter in SF on March 4, 2019, 7:18 pm

    What *is* anti-Semitic is her critics’ assumption that AIPAC/Netanyahu speak on behalf all American Jews, and that the Israel lobby is in fact a “Jewish lobby”—which it is not.

    Rep. Omar did not mention “Israel lobby” in her tweet; she mentioned AIPAC specifically. AIPAC is a member organization of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations:
    https://www.conferenceofpresidents.org/about/members
    So that means AIPAC is a Major American Jewish Organization.

  6. Marnie
    Marnie on March 4, 2019, 10:12 pm

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz has also slammed her colleague:

    ‘Sadly’,…. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

    Someone needs to remind wasserman that dual loyalties harm the country she lives in. Someone needs to discuss with her what a sham the so-called only democracy in the ME is. Someone needs to educate her about the careless use of the antisemitism card for any conversation that is critical of the ‘state of israel’, AIPAC and all the other israel-first lobbies and that even suggesting american companies, institutions of learning and american politicians take some kind of loyalty oath to a foreign government is the most un-american thing to do. Someone needs to instruct wasserman that any time Palestinian lives are shown the respect and concern they are due, that their lives matter. Someone needs to discuss with her the that israel is commiting crimes against humanity and has been since before 1948, and she needs to get her dumb ass on the right side of history before it’s too late. .

    Ilhan Omar has been up to that challenge from the get go. #IStandWithIlhan

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on March 5, 2019, 7:21 am

      Wasserman-Schultz has shown time and time again that she is a staunch supporter of Israel, and has put it above the country she was born in, and benefits from. Was it the birthright trips or the generous campaign contributions from the zionist lobbies, that makes these politicians embarrass themselves, by conveniently forgetting about free speech, and being able to criticize another nation? Wasserman -Schultz should realize that Rep. Omar has every right to criticize any nation she likes, and that she does not have to toe that zionist line, like dear Debbie does.
      This woman is a disgrace.

  7. Marnie
    Marnie on March 4, 2019, 10:30 pm

    Ali Abunimah writes.
    ‘Pelosi is happy to use @IlhanMN for self-serving “diversity” propaganda but not prepared to defend her against the Israel lobby’s racist, Islamophobic defamation that Omar is “anti-Semitic.” In fact Pelosi joined in the smear campaign. Vile!’

    Vile and predictable as hell. Ilhan’s vilification has a lot more do to with her faith, her hijab (sure they ‘allow it’ but there is resentment towards her for the push) and most of all her pigmentation. The u.s. has the most racist government in the world! the republican party is the party of strom thurmond and his ilk imo. This constant yapping and snapping at her heels, the dog whistles and fire alarms raised against her is nothing more than the actions of a 21st century lynch mob. I hope her compatriots will find even 1/4 of the courage Ilhan has shown and stand with her at this time of trial and tribulation. She owes no one apologies. She is speaking the truth and like what I’ve been hearing people say alot these days ‘a hit dog will holler’ and damn they are hollering!

  8. wondering jew
    wondering jew on March 4, 2019, 10:55 pm

    Naftali Bennet resigned from the Jewish Home party and began the New Right party. It is the Jewish Home party that is forming a bloc with the Kahanists, not the New Right party.

    • Marnie
      Marnie on March 5, 2019, 9:20 pm

      So you actually think there’s a difference? So you think Bennet isn’t going to bring that special magic to the ‘new right’ party yonah? israel has a cancer and if you think that’s too strong, complain to the families of dead palestinians.

  9. just
    just on March 5, 2019, 9:47 am

    Hagai El- Ad has made a good decision, imho. I believe this could remove the magical zio- dust from many American eyes and ears, including those in Congress.

    “Former Sanders Aide Simone Zimmerman Given Key Role in Anti-occupation Group …

    Simone Zimmerman, a former adviser to U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and a prominent Jewish American activist, has been appointed U.S. director of B’Tselem, an organization that monitors human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories.

    A founding member of the anti-occupation group IfNotNow, Zimmerman, 28, served as director of Jewish outreach for the 2016 Sanders campaign. She was fired not long after her appointment after it came to light that she published hostile posts against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on social media.

    Last August, Zimmerman was detained by the Shin Bet security service after arriving to Israel from the Egyptian border and interrogated about her political views and her Palestinian connections. The questioning took place after Israel implemented a travel ban barring active supporters of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement from entering the country.

    In a press release issued Tuesday, B’Tselem said that in her new position Zimmerman would work “to amplify B’Tselem’s voice among U.S. policymakers and the broader public.”

    Commenting on the appointment, B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad said: “At a time when U.S. foreign policy emboldens further occupation, oppression, and dispossession of Palestinians, the voice of Americans opposing this reality is more important than ever before. Simone’s principled voice and demonstrated leadership give hope for those who believe in a future based on justice – and in working steadfastly towards realizing it.”

    B’Tselem’s anti-occupation activities have made it a frequent target of Israeli government attacks in recent years.

    Zimmerman lived in Israel between 2016 and 2018, serving as a fellow for Dorot, a Jewish organization that promotes social change, and working at Gisha, an Israeli human rights organization focused primarily on the Gaza Strip. She has a degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and previously served as the national student president of J Street U, the university affiliate of the pro-Israel, anti-occupation lobbying group.

    “As a Jewish activist who has worked for years to challenge my own community’s denialism about the reality of the occupation, I am excited to take on my new role,” she said in the statement.”

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-former-sanders-aide-simone-zimmerman-given-key-role-in-anti-occupation-group-1.6996334?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

  10. Kathleen
    Kathleen on March 5, 2019, 12:35 pm

    Hopefully everyone sharing this post on their social media outlets.

  11. Boomer
    Boomer on March 5, 2019, 1:23 pm

    “Problematic” indeed. A mild term, under the circumstances. I believe you reported earlier that Mr. Nadler said Omar would be “educated.” Her education continues. And will continue as long as necessary, no doubt.

    A small special interest has captured national policy in support of a policy of dispossession and oppression, making us all complicit, and effectively preventing discussion of a more just policy toward Palestinians.

    I recently read about new “bipartisan legislation [that] will create a new grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to give teachers across the United States the resources and training necessary to teach children the lessons of the Holocaust and the consequences of hate and intolerance.” https://carolynmaloney.com/envoy-on-anti-semitism-revealed-nadler-maloney-endorse-golan-recognition/

    There was a time, long ago, when I believed that Israel was founded in “a land without people for a People without a Land.” Back then, I would have regarded such legislation as something good. Now that I understand more about history, and about how such legislation is used, it seems deeply flawed, and deeply ironic. “Never again” for one group seems to mean unquestioning support for ethnic cleansing of another group, with no concern for helping the current victims.

    • Marnie
      Marnie on March 5, 2019, 11:18 pm

      @Boomer

      “Never again” for one group seems to mean unquestioning support for ethnic cleansing of another group, with no concern for helping the current victims.”

      Never again, logically, would mean the same thing for any people subjected to tyranny and death. Apparently the zionist ‘state’ and its many enablers say ‘never again’ wrt to only jews? If you only validate your trauma, it makes you blind and heartless to the trauma inflicted on others, especially by your hands.

      Years ago I was talking to someone at my old congregation about the genocide in Rwanda. He frowned about it, said it was ‘bad’, then said ‘at least it wasn’t the jews again; there can’t be another genocide of the jews’.

  12. CHUCKMAN
    CHUCKMAN on March 5, 2019, 3:13 pm

    “I am told I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel’ and that’s problematic”

    “Problematic” here is a rather tepid word.

    It is, in fact, ridiculous.

  13. braciole
    braciole on March 5, 2019, 6:04 pm

    I read this article and I started to have visions of a massive earth dam with a little trickle of water seeping from the toe. You don’t have to be a civil engineer to imagine what happens next ……

  14. Mayhem
    Mayhem on March 5, 2019, 7:59 pm

    A convenient twisting of words in the phrase, ” I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel”. That is not the crux of the matter. It is the fact that she is anti-American because she is vituperatively anti-Israel. There is no compulsion to be overtly pro-Israel but there is an imperative not to be uttering anti-semitic slurs and deceiving her constituents.
    She lied in her election campaign , not disclosing her views on this subject when she was asked at an August primary debate held in a synagogue to specify exactly where she stands on BDS. Omar said that BDS was “not helpful in getting that two-state solution” — never explaining that she in fact supported BDS.

    • Jethro
      Jethro on March 5, 2019, 9:18 pm

      “she is anti-American because she is vituperatively anti-Israel”

      How does this follow?

    • klm90046
      klm90046 on March 5, 2019, 9:35 pm

      Ilhan Omar was right. BDS was “not helpful in getting that two-state solution”. Nor even a one-state solution. Nor any other kind of solution. Only a war of independence will get Palestinian land back. Where is the Palestinian George Washington?

      • Jethro
        Jethro on March 5, 2019, 10:20 pm

        “Where is the Palestinian George Washington?”

        In an Israeli prison.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus on March 5, 2019, 9:54 pm

      That’s “Mayhem” for you.
      If you don’t get plain English, it’s not the speaker’s fault. Looks like we Americans now have to speak constructed/invented Modern Hebrew so that you Zionists understand what is being said.

    • Marnie
      Marnie on March 6, 2019, 5:35 am

      @mayhum –
      “It is the fact that she is anti-American because she is vituperatively anti-Israel. ”

      Americans pledge of allegience is to the united states of america, not the borderless criminal enterprise called israel. The u.s. anthem isn’t hatikva. Did someone switch your meds?

    • eljay
      eljay on March 6, 2019, 5:53 am

      || Mayhem: … she is anti-American because she is vituperatively anti-Israel. There is no compulsion to be overtly pro-Israel but there is an imperative not to be uttering anti-semitic slurs … ||

      You can always count on a Zionist to anti-Semitically conflate Israel and Zionism with all Jews and all Jews with Israel and Zionism.

  15. Jethro
    Jethro on March 5, 2019, 8:58 pm

    She is being targeted.

    https://twitter.com/YousefMunayyer/status/1102918993093029889

    AIPAC activist tells NYT the lobby is coming for Congresswomen @AOC @RashidaTlaib and @IlhanMN “They are three people who, in my opinion, will not be around in several years.”https://t.co/CiuU1zMu5Y— (((YousefMunayyer))) (@YousefMunayyer) March 5, 2019

    Make a contribution here:
    https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ilhan-for-congress

    • Boomer
      Boomer on March 6, 2019, 9:54 am

      Thanks for the link. Normally I’m hesitant to get on yet another mailing list, since that’s the inevitable result of donating. But in this case, it seems like a badge of honor.

  16. lonely rico
    lonely rico on March 5, 2019, 9:29 pm

    > Mayhem

    Omar said that BDS was “not helpful in getting that two-state solution”

    As a supporter of BDS, I too hope it is not helpful in getting a two-state solution.

    I fervently hope BDS will lead to one single state, Palestine, with equal rights and justice for all its citizens.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus on March 5, 2019, 9:56 pm

      Lonely Rico,

      Equal rights to invaders is a bad, bad idea. It only encourages the next wave of colonial criminals.

  17. klm90046
    klm90046 on March 5, 2019, 9:51 pm

    In this day and age, in the land of Harvard, Columbia and Berkeley, we have to preach tiredly simple truths like “Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism,” “Israel does not represent all Jews,” “Loyalty to the US does not require loyalty to Israel.” Not to kindergartners, but to elites who hold this country’s fate in their hands: members of Congress! Such a disgrace.

  18. Marnie
    Marnie on March 6, 2019, 9:15 am

    #STANDWITHILHAN
    Call Your Lawmaker to Stop Sham Resolution Against Rep. Ilhan Omar

    (WASHINGTON, D.C 03/05/2019)—Once again, pro-Israel forces in Washington are attempting to muzzle Rep. Ilhan Omar and seeking to punish her as a “third strike” Ilhan

    for daring to criticize the influence of the Israel lobby. Tomorrow, a proposed resolution condemning anti-Semitism will be voted on in the House. In reality, the resolution, which is shamefully spearheaded by Democratic leadership, will serve to condemn Rep. Omar for her criticism of Israeli policies and its lobby here in the U.S.

    Rep. Omar spoke at a town hall meeting last week. While addressing the crowd, Rep. Omar stated, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Her critics twisted her words and presented her comment as though she was saying Jews cannot be loyal citizens to their home countries. AMP’s government relations director who attended the event stated that her remark was completely taken out of context. She was addressing the actions of the pro-Israel lobby in this country, not the position of individual Jewish Americans.

    AMP rejects anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its forms. This is a principled position and a moral stance as well, but this resolution has an alternative motive, which is to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel.

    Israel is not above criticism nor any lobby in the U.S., including the Zionist lobby. Conflating the two with anti-Semitism is an infringement on constitutionally-protected free speech and American values. This is the third time Ilhan Omar has come under attack for stating truth to power about Israel and its supporters’ immoral actions. If this resolution is passed without objection the pro-Israel forces will have succeeded in further silencing any critical debate on Israel. Congress, instead, should opt to cement American values and rights, while passing a resolution that condemns all forms of bigotry and hate, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and discrimination against people of color.

    Rather than stand up for Rep. Omar in the face of the most vicious attacks against her—that are both Islamophobic and racist in nature—leaders of her own party have thrown her under the bus to pander to the Israel lobby.

    We ask that you #StandWithIlhanOmar and express your strong opposition to this sham resolution and all attempts to suppress critical debate in Congress. Ask Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer that the resolution addresses not just anti-Semitism, but all forms of bigotry, such as Islamophobia, the racism of people of color and xenophobia. In addition, it should include protection of members of Congress who are physically and verbally threatened, particularly members of color.

    TAKE ACTION:

    • Keep up the campaign to support Rep. Ilhan Omar! Let her know that you support her and her efforts in the face of this onslaught. Please call her today and tweet in support of her @Ilhan using the hashtag #StandWithIlhan. Her office number is (202) 225-4755.

    • Call Nancy Pelosi’s office at (202) 225-4965 as well as House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer’s office at (202) 225-4131 and voice your opposition to her shameful capitulation to the Israel Lobby. Tell Speaker Pelosi that criticism of Israeli policies and the pro-Israel Lobby is NOT anti-Semitism and to stop conflating the two!
    ____________________________________________________________

    I called Ilhan’s office and her voice mail was full. I hope messages of encouragement outnumber the death threats and hate she is routinely served up. Will try again. Love this woman.

    I called Pelosi’s line and there was room for a message, so I left her a piece of my mind. How dare she and the other spineless democrats hang Ilhan out to dry. The women on the cover with Pelosi are the future. Nancy Pelosi is a dinosaur, like many of the politicians on both sides of the aisle. But IMO Pelosi is using these vibrant young women of color as props and props only. When push comes to shove, she’ll shit all over them….like she is to Ilhan and like she will to Ocasio-Cortez. That hag knows who butters her bread and it’s not these young women. #RetirePelosi

  19. gingershot
    gingershot on March 6, 2019, 9:32 am

    Anti-Kahanism is not Anti-Semitism

    If a Kahanist enthusiast is also of Semitic extraction, and tries to conflate the two in order to try to get away with being a Kahanist – that’s just a Kahanist with a lot of hubris trying to hustle you.

    Like Netanyahu for instance

    Rep Omar is a heroine

    • gamal
      gamal on March 6, 2019, 10:30 am

      Ilhan “means” its indirectly from sura Muhammad (also known as qital, fighting) “But you will most certainly recognise them by the tone (lahu, from lahn) of their speech” end of 47:30 : it “means” Intuition, eloquent speech, beautifully said and other such good stuff, Ilhan, it is of semitic origin from the root lhn which also enjoys great lexical respect.

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