In a region as dangerous as the Middle East, it would sure sound like a threat.
With Israeli voters heading to the polls on Tuesday for a do-over election that could determine the political future of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar used an interview with “Face the Nation” on Sunday to weigh in on what her most favored outcome would be.
That her idea of a positive outcome doesn’t include Netanyahu might not be surprising, but the words Omar used to say it definitely was.
“I certainly hope that the people of Israel make a different decision and my hope is that they recognize that existence, his policies, his rhetoric really is contradictory to the peace that we are all hoping that region receives and receives soon,” Omar told “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan.
It’s buried in that sentence, but Omar actually said Netanyahu’s “existence” is a threat to the “peace we are all hoping that region receives.”
That might have come off as just as loose way of speaking for a politician near the end of a 10-minute interview, but Omar compounded things by using the same terminology in a Twitter post.
It’s possible she was just using the post to clarify the “existence as the leader of Israel” part, but it still comes across as more ominous than a basic political statement.
“Netanyahu’s existence as the leader of Israel has diminished any hope for a two-state solution and we can’t be expected to be silent about that!” she wrote.
Netanyahu’s existence as the leader of Israel has diminished any hope for a two-state solution and we can’t be expected to be silent about that! https://t.co/A6pVIGWc59
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) September 15, 2019
If walking back her interview statement was the intent, the message didn’t get through to everyone.
The antisemitism never ends with you! How can you say that the very existence of a man is bad? All you’re missing is the mustache and the slick haircut!
— Joey America (@JoeyNoCollusion) September 15, 2019
— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) September 15, 2019
You mean Israel’s existence.
We all know what you mean. It’s not just @netanyahu you hate, you hate all Jews and don’t think Israel should be allowed to exist.
— Steph (@steph93065) September 15, 2019
Now, it’s important to remember that for all their malicious media stunts, Omar and her fellow “squad” members are the lowest members of the congressional totem pole.
Omar gets plenty of airtime for a first-termer, but in terms of political power, she’s still a freshman lawmaker with zero seniority and a member of a party that controls only one-half of the legislative branch. So, this isn’t quite the big deal it might be if she had any real clout.
However, she is still a member of the United States Congress, and talking openly about the how the “existence” of the leader of a foreign country negatively affects the future sounds perilously close to talking about the assassination of that leader.
That’s never a good idea. And it’s worse when that country is one of the United States’ most important allies in the world.
And when that ally is heading into a major election, it’s even worse yet.
Israelis are going to the polls on Tuesday to vote in their second election in six months after Netanyahu won a vote in April but could not marshal enough support from other parties to form a parliamentary majority in Israel’s complicated political system, as NPR reports. The electorate is so divided, there’s no guarantee that even this election will be the final answer, according to NPR.
Omar and her squad like to prattle about “death threats,” but they’re living in a world of utter safety compared to the prime minister of Israel and the approximately 8.5 million Israelis who live daily under the threat of surrounding Arab nations that want to destroy the very “existence” of the country.
What Omar said sounded a lot like a threat — from an American member of Congress to the life of an Israeli prime minister.
Even if Netanyahu didn’t hear it that way, it’s a good bet millions of Israel’s enemies did.
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