Last week, the Israeli government declined to let Rep. Ilhan Omar into the country on the fairly solid grounds that she was making a trip sponsored by a ghastly anti-Semitic organization where she would be calling for a boycott of Israel, a boycott meant to undermine the state’s existence.
Because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government wouldn’t let her do that, the Minnesota Democrat now says she wants America to consider defunding Israel.
“We give Israel more than $3 [billion] in aid every year. This is predicated on them being an important ally in the region and the only democracy in the Middle East,” Omar said at a news conference Monday in St. Paul, Minnesota, according to The Hill.
“But denying a visit to duly elected members of Congress is not consistent with being an ally, and denying millions of people freedom of movement or expression or self-determination is not consistent with being a democracy.”
Omar held the news conference with Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, the other Democrat representative turned away from making the trip by Israel.
During the news conference, Omar said that aid ought to be contingent on how the Netanyahu government treated the Palestinian people.
“We must be asking, as Israel’s ally, that Netanyahu’s government stop the expansion of settlements on Palestinian lands and ensure full rights for Palestinians if we are to give them aid,” Omar said, according to The Hill.
As for whether Omar considers herself an ally of Israel, we already know the answer to this question.
She’s been a loud-and-proud supporter of Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, which aims to isolate Israel. She was going to the Jewish state to encourage a boycott of it. Both Tlaib and Omar listed their destination as “Palestine” in their visa applications, even though their planned trip included a visit to Jerusalem. One can extrapolate a bit from that and see both consider Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, to be part of a Palestinian state.
The Democrats have generally stood by Omar through this whole horrid charade. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin have urged Democrats to refrain from visiting Israel because of the travel ban.
Omar, however, said her compatriots should continue to visit for “oversight” purposes.
“It is my belief that, as legislators, we have an obligation to see the reality there for ourselves,” she said.
“We have a responsibility to conduct oversight over our government’s foreign policy and what happens with the millions of dollars we send in aid. So I would encourage my colleagues to visit.”
I’m pretty sure we can suss out for ourselves what “oversight” would consist of. It would mean overlooking the rocket attacks, the terrorism, the fact that the Palestinians have self-governance within both the West Bank and Gaza, the fact that both are run poorly by political organizations that are either corrupt or extremist, or the fact that the Palestinians would have a country of their own if they had attended to these matters.
Instead, the “reality” they’re expected to see is that the Palestinians are oppressed, the Israelis are the oppressors and that we ought to defund one of our closest allies because, in part, they wouldn’t allow two noted BDS supporters to come in and spew boycott rhetoric.
In fact, Omar basically said as much: “We cannot let Trump and Netanyahu succeed in hiding the cruel reality of the occupation from us.”
Right. And of course, we got rhetoric about how this decision on Israel’s part was tacitly some sort of ban on Muslims: “The decision to ban me and my colleague, the first two Muslim American women elected to Congress, is nothing less than an attempt by an ally of the United States to suppress our ability to do our jobs as elected officials,” Omar said.
At the moment, we have a media willing to hide the hideous reality of Omar and Tlaib’s trip to Israel from us.
The aims of the blatantly anti-Semitic BDS movement are hardly discussed, and when they are it’s only in the most tepid of terms.
Meanwhile, as David French wrote at National Review, the group that sponsored the visit, Miftah, was also hardly examined until it was pointed out on social media that it has done fun stuff like repeat the “blood libel” hoax — the idea that “Jews [use] the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover” — and republished a piece by an American neo-Nazi group on how a Jewish cabal controls the media.
As French, “the Washington Post said that ‘Omar and Tlaib’s trip to Jerusalem and the West Bank was planned by Miftah, a nonprofit organization headed by Palestinian lawmaker and longtime peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi.’ The New York Times described it as an organization ‘headed by a longtime Palestinian lawmaker.’ In its editorial, the New York Times editorial board identified it as a group ‘that promotes ‘global awareness and knowledge of Palestinian realities.'”
And now, because of a perfectly sensible travel ban predicated on all I’ve told you above, we’re now expected to look at cutting off foreign aid to our closest ally in the Middle East, at least as Omar sees it.
As of right now, this idea is almost certainly going nowhere. However, the fact that this kind of anti-Israeli sentiment is being mainstreamed within the Democratic Party is particularly galling. It needs to be called out for what it is.
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