The big story coming out of AIPAC is every one in the Democratic leadership dumping all over the first term Muslim congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, while having nothing to say about Benjamin Netanyahu. In the process they have clearly damaged their own standing inside the progressive wing of the party, including among liberal Zionist advocates, and fulfilled Omar’s criticism of the power of the Israel lobby.
When someone suggests that money drives support for Israel, we must call it out. You can be a Jew and care about Israel and it doesn’t make you any less of an American. You can be a Jew and lobby for Israel and it doesn’t make you any less of an American.
When someone says that being Jewish and supporting Israel means you’re not loyal to America, we must call it out. When someone looks at a neo-Nazi rally and sees some ‘very fine people’ among its company, we must call it out,
When someone accuses American supporters of Israel of dual loyalty, I say: Accuse me.
I am part of a large, bipartisan coalition in Congress supporting Israel, an overwhelming majority in the Congress of the United States. And I tell Israel’s accusers and detractors: Accuse us…
What weakens us, though, is when, instead of engaging in legitimate debate about policies, someone questions the motives of his or her fellow citizens or tries to silence others through exclusion, disenfranchisement, or fear
Many commenters observed that Hoyer was copping to the Israel-loyalty charge that is supposedly such a canard.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also dumped on Omar, without naming her.
In our democratic societies we should welcome legitimate debate on how best to honor our values and to advance our priorities without questioning loyalty or patriotism. [Applause]. This month the full House came together to condemn the anti-semitic myth of dual loyalty and all forms of bigotry…. including the perniciousmyth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance especially in the context of support for the United States Israel alliance.
Pelosi made it clear that Omar and Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are chopped liver in the Congress:
Support for Israel remains ironclad and bipartisan. We’re proud to have so many champions of Israel serving as leaders and committee chairs.
These leaders are working tirelessly to make those bonds even stronger…. If you care about American security you must care about Israel’s security.
These comments aren’t going over well. Ilhan Omar responded yesterday, per Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the Times:
“It’s been interesting to see such a powerful conference of people be so fearful of a freshman member of Congress so I hope that they figure out a way to not allow me to have a permanent residency in their heads.”
Ben Rhodes is appalled by the Democrats’ love for the organization that helped kill the Iran deal and says that Dems should go to the liberal Zionist group, J Street.
Dear Democrats, you don’t need to give a Trump-Bibi support organization the veneer of bipartisanship. There are other places to go
J Street had called on Dems to criticize Netanyahu’s bigotry at AIPAC. Now it is using the Democratic leadership‘s collapse to build its own organizing efforts. Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street is disturbed.
While I appreciate
@leaderhoyer‘s clarification, I remain concerned by his and others’ willingness to call out members of his own Dem caucus, while not mentioning GOP rhetoric & political weaponizing of anti-semitism & other issues of concern to US Jews
The left is sickened. Commenter MapleCocaine:
So is AIPAC just a conference about being mad at Ilhan Omar or do they have other topics?
Joshua Leifer, an editor at Dissent, formerly of 972 found it unseemly:
The Democratic Party leadership has spent the past several days literally defaming their junior colleagues in front of AIPAC lobbyists.
Civility is a demand placed by those with power on those who have less.
Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser to the Bernie Sanders organization, puts the emphasis on Palestinian human rights.
The Democratic Party is steadily changing into one that takes Palestinian rights/ending occupation seriously. Many of us who work on these issues are committed to having a respectful, constructive debate as this happens. Dem leadership has shown us that they’re not interested.
The group Justice Democrats, representing the new guard led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez et al, is angered by the pile on in this email:
when Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer took the stage at AIPAC over the weekend and had just a few minutes on the national stage, he decided to use it to attack all three of those Democratic leaders.
First, he dogpiled onto Ilhan Omar’s comments, that she’d already apologized for and clarified, in front of an audience of lobbyists. How brave. Then, he lamented the fact that the American public has noticed our aforementioned Justice Democrats and not the total 62 freshmen Democratic members of the House.
Steny Hoyer displayed the hypocrisy of establishment Democrats: They are allowed to attack fellow Democrats as they well please, but we are being ‘divisive’ when we fight for a progressive agenda…
Justice Democrats took on Netanyahu as none of the Democratic leaders did.
People across the country want a Democratic Party that fights for a progressive foreign policy vision and takes on mini-Trumps like Benjamin Netanyahu. Just like on so many other issues, the Democratic Party leadership is increasingly out-of-touch with where the party is going….
It was horrified by Schumer’s lumping Omar in with Trump on neo-Nazis. “[T]here’s one set of rules for Chuck Schumer when it comes to criticizing Democrats, and another for us.”
Last year, President Donald Trump said there were “very fine people” in a crowd of white supremacists who were videotaped chanting, “Jews will not replace us,” and one of whom would later go on to murder an activist protesting their hatred. Trump said “both sides” were to blame.
Trump refused to apologize, doubled down on his comments, and has normalized white nationalism ever since.
Ilhan, by contrast, apologized and clarified the connotation of her remarks. Ilhan even voted for a resolution that criticized her previous comments.
We have one question: how on earth can any reasonable person look at these two situations and equate neo-Nazis with Ilhan Omar’s principled stand for a humane, progressive foreign policy?
Justice Democrats is standing up for changes in foreign policy:
Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar have dared to speak their minds — and Chuck Schumer and other Democratic leaders want them to pay the price for advocating for a progressive foreign policy.
And here is John Iadarola of the Young Turks turned off by the Omar-bash:
They’re not all referencing her by name… Democrats and Republicans, pundits and politicians all bringing her up.
Ironically, the Democratic leadership’s pile on is only validating Ilhan Omar’s critique. That money drives the relationship, and the allegiance is in the wrong place.
Scott Roth on Hoyer’s Accuse me challenge:
I rest my case.
Here’s my AIPAC recap: Ilhan was right. About everything.
Thanks to Adam Horowitz and Donald Johnson.