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Ilhan Omar

It’s about the Benjamins — Trump’s smearing of congresswomen demonstrates Israel’s influence in US politics

Philip Weiss on
Images of Reps. Rashida Tlaib (l) and Ilhan Omar

Donald Trump’s charge that four congresswomen are Israel haters is a political tactic aimed at taking pro-Israel donors away from the Democratic Party. Liberals set the table for Trump’s racist comments by roundly condemning Rep. Ilhan Omar as anti-semitic, when she was addressing an important issue in US politics: the role of the Israel lobby in setting foreign policy in the Middle East.

Liberals bashing leftists is a big problem

Donald Johnson on

Liberals want leftwing votes, but they dismiss leftwing goals. Michelle Goldberg says Democrats must “court” nihilistic leftists, but what does courtship mean? Supporting a warmonger, Hillary Clinton, because she’s a foreign policy genius. And the same on health care and the climate crisis: we are supposed to settle for policies that are at best inadequate and at worst catastrophic. Who are the nihilists here?

Debbie Wasserman Schultz launches a black-Jewish caucus featuring ‘anti-Muslim bigot’ Lee Zeldin

Michael Arria on
Lee Zeldin Presents Donato Panico's Flag from Ground Zero and Then Iraq to President Trump in Oval Office

On Monday members from the House of Representatives announced the establishment of the Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations, which was created to combat the rising tide of white nationalism. However, the group includes New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, the GOP congressman who has made headlines for his connections to the alt-right and his repeated attacks on Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar on Twitter.

Peter Beinart suggests AIPAC should have to register as agent of Israeli government

Philip Weiss on

Standing up for Ilhan Omar’s controversial point about allegiance to a foreign country, Peter Beinart says his children in a Jewish day school believe they should be loyal to both the US and Israel, and that AIPAC has sided with the Israeli government over the US one and maybe ought to have to register as a foreign agent.

Plenty of Benjamins here in Boston!

Jeff Klein on
Promotion of recent New England leadership dinner at AIPAC. Partial full screen image from screenshot.

AIPAC’s promotion of a recent New England leadership dinner in Boston at $300 a head shows that the leading Israel lobby group raised nearly $5 million from just one region of the country. So when pro-Israel voices say that Ilhan Omar is wrong, AIPAC doesn’t work by raising money, they’re trying to deceive you.

As mainstream comes down hard on Palestinians, Sanders cites human rights violations in Gaza

Philip Weiss on

Israelis are the innocents, while Gaza militants are “terrorists” in countless statements about the weekend’s violence from U.S. Democrats and liberal Zionist groups. That makes Bernie Sanders’s call for an “evenhanded” policy and concern about human rights violations in Gaza remarkable for political courage. Sanders says he has been “criticized over and over again” for his stance.

Progressives build power through solidarity

Nada Elia on
Illustration used to show solidarity with Rep. Ilhan Omar on social media

Nada Elia writes: “Throughout the history of this country, progressive change has come from the grassroots, against the reactionary few.  Now, as at other critical historical junctures, we need to make it clear to those coming under attack for their political and moral integrity that we will mobilize for them. As hate is emboldened, we need to send an unambiguous message: we are still the majority, they are the fringe.”   

As the Israel lobby in the US weakens, its UK counterpart grows more fearsome

Jonathan Cook on

Jonathan Cook writes that while there are signs politicians in the U.S. are finally ready to shine a light onto the pro-Israel lobby, the opposite is taking place in United Kingdom. He says this is due to the way the Israel lobby has recently emerged in British politics – hurriedly, and in a mix of panic and damage limitation mode due to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, and the end of the international two-state consensus.

Supporting Israel is now ‘liability’ for Democrats, but ’60 Minutes’ doesn’t trouble Pelosi about it

Philip Weiss on
Nancy Pelosi meets with three former UK Labour MP's who left the party over Israel and alleged anti-Semitism. April 14, 2019. From Twitter.

On “60 Minutes,” Nancy Pelosi called herself a progressive and dismissed leftwing congresswomen as a mere “five people,” and Lesley Stahl never challenged her about the fissure in the party over Israel. Though more and more commentators are saying that Israel support has become the battleground among Democrats, and Pelosi is busy catering to AIPAC and Netanyahu.

Trump brags he blew off calls from world leaders to give Adelsons the greatest gift: Jerusalem

Philip Weiss on
Sheldon Adelson at the RJC, from Amichai Stein's twitter feed. April 6, 2019.

Before Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, he says he got calls from “presidents, dictators, prime minister, kings, queens– everybody” and didn’t take the calls. Similar pressure kept previous presidents from making the move, he told the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas yesterday, but moving the embassy made his biggest donors, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, very happy.

Democratic leaders’ use of AIPAC to bash Omar and ignore Netanyahu just gave progressive Dems a giant boost

Philip Weiss on

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. When House Majority leader Steny Hoyer said Omar should accuse him of dual loyalty for his support for Israel, he seemed to confirm what she had said.

‘Intense hatred of Israel is moving from margins to center of US politics’ — Howard Kohr of AIPAC

Philip Weiss on

The AIPAC policy conference in Washington began Sunday on a defensive note, with the Israel lobby organization’s chief executive saying that Israel’s friends face a terrible new challenge: taking on “the scurrilous charge of dual loyalty” and declaring “The intense hatred of Israel is now creeping from the margins to the center of our politics.” 

Palestine solidarity work is most effective when done within an anti-racist framework

Alice Rothchild on
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). (Photo: Ilhan Omar for Congress/Facebook)

The recent fury and attacks on Ilhan Omar and her forthright statements exposing and criticizing the role of the Israel lobby come at time when issues of political framing are roiling Jewish and progressive communities. Alice Rothchild says the controversy further clarified her understanding that Palestine solidarity work is most effectively accomplished within an anti-racist, anti-white supremacist framework.

Anti-Palestinian tropes

Donald Johnson on

“Israel has a right to exist” is a rationalization of ethnically cleansing Palestinians. “Israel has a right to defend itself” is a rationalization of slaughtering Palestinians. The mainstream is filled with dehumanizing anti-Palestinian tropes, and it has never occurred to any of the mainstream liberal critics of Ilhan Omar to write about them. They need to get out of their bubble and see how America looks from the Middle East.

Democrats are now officially split on Israel, and we can thank Ilhan Omar and BDS

Philip Weiss on
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) arrives for her victory party on election night in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 6, 2018. (Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images)

When the Democratic leadership backed down on its anti-Ilhan Omar resolution, it signaled that a movement for Palestinian human rights that has been crushed several times by the party in recent years now must be reckoned with as the mood of the progressive base. Leading presidential candidates support Omar, and Gallup shows that liberal Democrats are nearly as sympathetic to Palestinians as Israelis.

House resolution rejecting hate is a band-aid for a broken leg

Jonathan Ofir on

The US House of Representatives passed an extended resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, in response to the outrage concerning Ilhan Omar’s comments concerning Israel and its lobby. But Omar’s comments were not about Jews, and the resolution doesn’t address the problem, which is that allegiance to Israel can’t be questioned.

Muslims — not Jews — are being targeted with racist loyalty canards

Amith Gupta on
Images of Reps. Rashida Tlaib (l) and Ilhan Omar

That the blatant bigotry of expecting Muslims to prove their loyalty has become a staple of American political life is made that much more obvious by the recent attacks on those who raise entirely legitimate concerns about Zionist lobbying and U.S. support for Israel. Were Congress genuinely concerned about racist canards of “dual loyalty,” they would be spending their time fixing U.S. immigration laws to undo the Muslim ban rather than making false allegations of the canard against two people who are actually its victims.

The shameful attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar

James Zogby on

Jim Zogby says what is happening to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar should be of concern to all Americans, but regardless the debate she has ignited will continue. “The House of Representatives may pass their resolution, but that won’t close the door on the discussion Omar’s courage has helped to open.,” he writes. “If anything, their behavior and incitement against her has pried it open even further.”