Or, how is ‘all hate speech’ as a counter to Antisemitism in any way morally different from ‘not all men’ or ‘all lives matter’?
It isn’t. Not at all.
Due to the mainstream media giving Democrats cover, we get a parade of people treating Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar like a silly child who just doesn’t understand. I would think that insulting too, but what do I know?
What I do know is she is simply cannot be unaware of what she is saying, especially when called out on it. So, instead of apologizing, and / or keeping her antisemitism private, she doubles down. House Minority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) excused her statements as the result of having to flee Somalia and live in a Kenyan refugee camp for some years. Then basically demanded the children of holocaust survivors check their privilege. After all, their families survived a program of genocide and industrial extermination…her family fled a civil war with the family intact. That is, make no mistake, a hugely impactful event in a person’s life. I do not for a moment doubt it had a profound effect on her and her family.
But I don’t think that is where Omar’s antisemitism comes from. Let’s be real here. The factions in Somalia were not backed by, connected to, or actually Jewish. Somalia is officially Sunni Muslim, with no other religions listed (legal?). And Kenya is, per the CIA World Factbook, 83% Christian (Protestant 47.7%, Catholic 23.4%, other Christian 11.9%), 11.2% Muslim, 1.7% Traditionalists, 1.6% other, 2.4% none, 0.2% unspecified (2009 est.). No mention of Jewish here. So Omar’s antisemitism must come from elsewhere.
Never assume malice where stupidity is an option?
It is also possible Omar is just a twit. Yes, it is right to examine our alliance with Israel. And to examine all alliances to ensure we see some benefit. Conversely, the Israelis should do the same. That’s normal. In this case, the US gains an ally in an unstable region; stands up for a democrats nation in a land of despotism, dictatorship, and monarchy; and we keep our moral obligation to prevent another Holocaust.
So is it possible that her repeated ‘dual allegiance’ comment is just ignorance? Maybe she doesn’t know that slander was used against Kennedy, because he was Catholic, Joe Lieberman, because he was Jewish, Mitt Romney, because he was Mormon. It is possible she missed that.
By her own rules, however, Omar has dual allegiance to ‘Palestine’. Is it a slur to say that any Muslim that supports the ‘Palestinians’, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.? If so, then the sword cuts both ways, and it is equally a slur to apply that to Jews.
Does who supports you matter?
I remember attacks on President Trump over receiving support from some distasteful sorts. I said at the time that if he didn’t seek them out, then how is he responsible for their other beliefs? That sentence is not great, but the point is, if hate group X supports me over a non-hate-related issue (say, lower taxes), how am I responsible for their other beliefs? Of course, that fell on deaf ears, because to a lot of people, nothing President Trump does can ever be good.
So to them, I say this – if President Trump receiving support from bad people stains him, how do you respond to former KKK leader David Duke’s support of Ilhan Omar?
Huh. Isn’t that something.
Of course, that is neither to her credit or debit. Omar isn’t responsible for Duke’s actions. That her actions were praiseworthy because of their antisemitism is her fault, however.
What is to be done here?
As much as I would like to see the Democrats condemn bigotry, I don’t expect it. They have bigotry too deeply ingrained in their party and ideological DNA to condemn it. I would like to see Omar stripped of plum committee assignments as a form of censure, which won’t happen either. Again, to the Democratic Party leadership, her bigotry is less important than the appearance of party unity. So, sickeningly, all is forgiven when the ‘right people’ are involved. The official line is rapidly becoming “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
All that aside (and that should be a post of its own, if I can find the right way to say it), what should be done about Omar vis a vis her position in Congress? The answer is ‘nothing’. The citizens of Minnesota’s 5th District elected her, they bear the responsibility for her actions. Ilhan Omar’s opinions were available, her prejudices and antisemitism known, and still they voted for her. This is on their shoulders. The whole idea of the republican system is that the people elect someone who shares their values and goals, and that person champions them in Congress. That the residents of MN-5 chose Ilhan Omar says more about them than it does about her. They elected an anti-Semitic bigot as the person who best represented who they are. Full stop.
It is important to note that my vague disgust with Omar’s beliefs and MN-5’s decision to select her is in no way an endorsement of physical action against her. It is not an endorsement of bigoted slander against her either. Omar is a citizen, who possesses the same rights to her religion as any other human being. Those calling for violence against her for either her statements or beliefs are in the wrong. Also full stop.
The residents of MN-5 would be well-served in selecting another representative in 2020. Maybe someone who isn’t so openly bigoted would be nice.