Despite the overwhelming passage by the House of a resolution condemning BDS, many Democratic politicians are torn about how much to support Israel. Rep. John Lewis voted for the resolution but also supports a bill that affirms the right to boycott. Go figure! And two leading presidential candidates have said that Israel should suffer reductions in aid for human rights violations.
Tag Archives: Ilhan Omar
Democrats voted 209-16 for a resolution that characterizes the nonviolent BDS campaign that targets Israel as bigoted. The Dems made the Israel lobby group AIPAC grateful for bipartisan support, and fought off Trump’s efforts to characterize Dems as “anti-Israel.” The vote demonstrates the importance of the Israel lobby for the 2020 presidential race, but if you call out the lobby the NYT will say you’re anti-semitic.
Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar has introduced a bill affirming that Americans have the right to participate in boycotts. Although the legislation doesn’t specifically mention the BDS movement, it coincides with an anti-BDS resolution that is currently being pushed by many Democrats.
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.
When Trump called Ilhan Omar a “terrorist,” he was echoing an Israeli tactic against Palestinian dissenters. The charge has been used against sitting lawmakers, like when former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Hanin Zoabi a terrorist, and against poet Dareen Tatour and anti-occupation activist Ahed Tamimi.
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?
A number of lawmakers have come out in support of Congressional legislation that seeks to end Israel’s military detention practices against Palestinian children, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. Introduced by Betty McCollum, the bill died in the last Congress with 30 co-sponsors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
While the alleged shooter in Saturday’s deadly attack on the Poway Chabad synagogue said he was inspired by the shooter of the Christchurch terrorist attack in New Zealand and claimed to have fire-bombed a mosque. Regardless, Ted Cruz and Meghan McCain attempted to link the attack to Ilhan Omar.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Memo to Tom Friedman: Israel is not your “ancestral homeland,” that is a Zionist myth. There was never an exile from Judea. Jews were all over the Roman Empire as converts; and your ancestors were surely among them. And mythical Jewish history doesn’t convey rights to someone born in Minnesota.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
The House passed a revised resolution on anti-Semitism early Thursday evening, nearly twice as long as the original measure and with an expanded focus on white supremacists, “neo-Confederates,” and Nazis who have caused acts of violence against black and Muslim Americans, among others.
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.