Monday, February 11, 2019

Quote of the Day

Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has stirred controversy by replying to scurrilous statements of her Republican opponents in Congress by suggesting that they are shilling for anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim lobbies that back the right wing Likud government of Israel to the hilt because they receive campaign contributions from the Israel lobbies. . . . It certainly is the case that many American politicians are funded by the Israel lobbies, coordinated by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the shocked protests to the contrary by the Washington elite are disingenuous or propaganda.

Chelsea Clinton piped up, but her own mother exemplifies the syndrome. Hillary Clinton was once a level-headed, smart analyst of Middle East affairs, in the 1990s. And she pointed out that the Palestinians deserve their own state. The Israel lobbies came after her viciously and silenced her. And then gradually she started giving these robotic speeches that seem to have been written for her by AIPAC. . . . She started saying things she must know to be untrue and blaming the Palestinians for their own plight, which was imposed on them by the Israeli military.

. . . Because of the long and horrific tradition of European anti-Jewish bigotry, it is difficult to speak of the power of the Israel lobbies, and bringing the subject up often attracts charges of anti-Semitism. That is because European Christians created false and outrageous accusations against Jews of stealing Christian babies and using their blood in rituals, or of being unduly influential in banking, or of secretly forming a cabal to control governments. These anti-Semitic tropes (which led to the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews) are hurtful, false and ultimately murderous.

But this history of Christian irrational bigotry is no excuse to deny that Jewish nationalists or Zionists have indeed organized themselves to fund political campaigns at a much higher level than average Americans, and to strategize influence in the US government.

It is important to underline that relatively few American Jews support the tenets of the Israel lobbies, such as the right of Israel to annex permanently and colonize with its own people the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza.

. . . AIPAC and the Israel lobbies are enormously influential in American politics and putting discussion of them off limits, as the lobbies would like to do, is a diminution of our democratic discourse and a sort of totalitarianism.

To that extent, whatever one thinks of one tweet by a first-term congresswoman, she is doing us a favor to provoke the forbidden discussion.

– Juan Cole
Excerpted from “Senate Guts First Amendment to Guard Israel
from Boycott, But Ilhan Omar Can’t Bring Up AIPAC?

Common Dreams
February 11, 2019


Related Off-site Links:
Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar Draws Ire for "Accurately Describing How the Israel Lobby Works" – Julia Conley (Common Dreams, February 11, 2019).
No, Ilhan Omar Is Not Anti-Semitic for Calling Out AIPAC – Peter Felds (Forward, February 11, 2019).
Ilhan Omar Apologizes for Statements Condemned as Anti-SemiticThe New York Times, February 11, 2019).
As Omar "Unequivocally" Apologizes, Critics Rip Democratic Leaders for Trying to "Silence Criticism" of AIPAC – Jon Queally (Common Dreamst, February 11, 2017).
Sorry, Democrats: Your NRA Is Spelled AIPAC – MJ Rosenberg (The Huffington Post, October 5, 2017).
Democrats Forced to Confront Growing Divide Over Israel Heading Into 2020 – Gregory Krieg and Eric Bradner (CNN, February 11, 2017).

UPDATES: Who's Afraid of Ilhan Omar? – Hunter DeRensis (The National Interest via Yahoo! News, February 12, 2017).
Anti-Semitism and Hypocrisy at the Top: A Jewish Response – Wes Howard-Brook (Radical Discipleship, February 12, 2017).
There Is a Taboo Against Criticizing AIPAC – and Ilhan Omar Just Destroyed It – Mehdi Hasan (The Intercept, February 12, 2019).
Rep. Ilhan Omar Claps Back at the Bigot In Chief: "You Have Trafficked in Hate Your Whole Life" – Stephen A. Crockett Jr. (The Root, February 13, 2019).
Rep. Ilhan Omar Applauded for Grilling Elliott Abrams Over Role in US-Backed Genocide, Massacres, and Death Squads in Latin America – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, February 13, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Israeli Policy, Not Anti-Semitism, at the Root of Disruption at Creating Change 2016 Conference
For Some Jews, Israel's Treatment of Palestinians is Yet Another Jewish Tragedy
Quote of the Day – August 12, 2014
Thoughts on Prayer in a "Summer of Strife"
"We Will Come Together in Our Pain"
In Search of a "Global Ethic"

Image: Photographer unknown.


1 comment:

David said...

The more I read about this, the more I think she should NOT have even apologized for poor choice of words. As far as I can tell she had ZERO interest in pushing an anti-Semitic trope about Jewish conspiracy and EVERY intent to lay bare the way that AIPAC is willing to scuttle human right concern in its blind support for anything pro-Israel (something few U.S. Jews are so willing to do). Yes, it's a divisive issue, but stepping into that divide with blunt honesty is NOT anti-Semitic, it's bold politics.