Whatever pull Rep. Ilhan Omar has over her own party, I’d certainly love to have it.
The Minnesota Democrat has barely been in office for two months and already she’s piled up an impressive record of anti-Semitism. Yet, after another incident that could only have sprung from the fount of anti-Semitism — accusing American Jews of dual loyalties — the House was set to pass a resolution that tacitly condemned Omar by condemning the hatred of Jews.
To say that what they ended up passing was “watered-down” is kind of like saying that homeopathic medicine is watered down — while true, it doesn’t quite convey the gravity of the capitulation. Before it got down to tackling actual instances of anti-Semitism, the resolution condemned hatred against “African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other people of color, Jews Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and others with verbal attacks, incitement, and violence.”
“I thought the resolution should enlarge the issue to anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and white supremacy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. The California Democrat also was willing to let her freshman colleague off the hook, saying that Omar “didn’t have a full appreciation of how (her remarks) landed on other people where these words have a history and a cultural impact that might have been unknown to her.”
House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina was willing to go even further, basically implying that Omar’s experience in a refugee camp gave her license to say things others couldn’t.
“There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’ It’s more personal with her,” Clyburn said, according to The Washington Post.
New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat, wasn’t impressed by this line of thinking. Last week, the Brooklyn-based politician released a video in which Holocaust survivors called out Democrat politicians — in particular, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, who’s from New York — over anti-Semitism in the 116th Congress.
“I was deeply moved by the messages from this room of Holocaust survivors’ for @SenSchumer and @SpeakerPelosi that ALL Americans need to hear,” Hikind tweeted. “Hold onto @IlhanMN and her antisemitism, lose us!”
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) March 8, 2019
The video features survivors calling the current slate of representatives and senators “the most anti-Semitic Congress we’ve ever had” and saying the Democrats had turned their back on Jewish voters and Israel.
“All my life I voted Democratic,” one of the survivors says. “And this year, in 2020, I will not be able to because of those three horrors and about the Jews that we have in the Congress are not helping us and not standing up for us.”
So, please tell me Rep. Clyburn, is it more personal with Rep. Omar than it is with these survivors?
While most of the responses were supportive, there were also plenty of anti-Semitic ripostes and rationalizations of Omar’s remarks.
Stop with your jewish trics. We know the truth
— crisis (@olaf20) March 9, 2019
who produced this disgraceful manipulation conflating wrong & inhumane policies of Israel against Palestinians with anti-semitism?
— Betty Aberlin (@bettyaberlin) March 11, 2019
SO GO JOIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!! ISLAMAPHOBIA IS UNAMERICAN!!!
— Mel (@Mel53146469) March 8, 2019
Interestingly enough, most of the responses about how Omar’s remarks were actually about Israel’s policies and not about Jews missed that the remarks weren’t really about Israel, but rather about American Jews and their support for Israel; that’s a subtle but significant difference.
Unfortunately, Hikind is in the minority when it comes to those who are outraged over Omar’s remarks. Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, spoke out about Omar — but wasn’t willing to do anything about it even though he’s in a position to.
“This resolution is a fine resolution and I will support it, but I am very disappointed that we weren’t able to have a separate resolution to specifically condemn anti-Semitism and what our colleague said that really was a very hateful term,” Engel said from the House floor when the capitulation resolution was voted on.
“I hope we can put everything together in this House. I know we can. I know people on both sides of the aisle want to work together and we want to stomp out any form of hatred, particularly anti-Semitism. I will continue to work with anybody who wants to do that.”
However, it’s worth noting that Engel is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on which Omar sits. He’s refusing to call for her being dropped from a committee that deals specifically with Israel and her enemies, among other things.
“No, I’m not close to it,” Engel said when asked about requesting Omar’s removal from the committee. “First of all, it’s not up to me. This is done by the leadership. I don’t know that that would do anything except exacerbate the situation even more. I’m looking to get rid of anti-Semitism, not looking to punish anybody.”
Hikind, at least, has been a critic of his party’s drift toward Corbynism. According to The Daily Wire, Hikind has criticized Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for her characterization of Israel as “occupiers” and Schumer for fundraising off of criticizing “right-wing” policies while refusing to condemn anti-Semitism within his own party.
“You ask for a contribution, but the Democratic Party — which I am a lifelong member of — is currently betraying the ideals that our party once stood for: American values,” Hikind wrote in December. “You yourself proposed that Representative (Keith) Ellison head the party, but you must surely know that Ellison has stood with our nation’s leading hate monger Louis Farrakhan.”
“Senator Schumer, as a fellow Democrat, I ask you to work to restore sanity and honesty to our party so I can feel good about supporting it fully. Until then, I’m afraid the Republicans have my support,” Hikind said.
That’s a pretty gutsy statement.
Will you see anyone else among the Democrats make it? Probably not.
As they proved with their non-chastisement chastisement of Omar, they’re not particularly concerned about this sort of thing. The canary in the mine has already died a few times with the Minnesota representative and nobody seems to care.
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