There’s Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, an anti-Semite who has become a household name for all the wrong reasons, whether that’s her anti-Israel tropes dispensed on Twitter and elsewhere in the public sphere, or her support for the BDS (boycott, divest and sanctions) movement against Israel — the only democracy in the Middle East and America’s strongest ally in the region, if not the world.
These remarks come on the heels of her highly offensive, racially charged 2012 tweet in which she accused America’s longstanding ally Israel of “evil.” “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” she said.Adrianna Cohen, “Bright Red on the Horizon“, The Boston Herald, April 17, 2019
Omar is criticizing those who merely quote her as inciting violence. She has claimed that President Donald Trump, who posted a video that juxtaposed footage of 9/11 with her “some people did something” comment, is responsible for an uptick in the number of death threats she has received. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., compared Omar to a victim of the Holocaust.
This is immoral in the extreme. Omar isn’t a victim because she’s being criticized. And speech isn’t incitement. Sen. Bernie Sanders wasn’t responsible for the congressional baseball game shooting. Former President Barack Obama wasn’t responsible for the Dallas police shooting. And Trump isn’t responsible for those who send Omar death threats. He’s responsible for criticizing her — rightly, in this case. Democrats who hide behind the charge of incitement are simply attempting to quash debate. And that’s far more dangerous for the future of America than criticizing a radical politician.Ben Shapiro, “Criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar isn’t Incitement“, Daily Signal, April 17, 2019
I am amazed at Omar’s comment that “we are tired of being second class citizens.”
William Hess, Letter to the Editor, Pioneer Press, April 18, 2019
In the first place I was a social worker for 30 years and had many opportunities to witness how people would go out of their way to be inclusive, supportive and accommodating to those of the Muslim faith. This country is the most diverse, free and welcoming country in the world. Are there a few individuals who are not as welcoming? Of course. But many more people than not are kind and supportive, and our institutions are certainly not intent on treating Muslims like second-class citizens.
Think about Nancy Pelosi. She won’t remove Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Relations Committee because, why, because she thinks so little of America? Who is she representing? Because it isn’t America with her thoughts and her regrettable remarks about September 11 and three thousand victims who lost their lives that day.Lou Dobbs, Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox Business Network, April 17, 2019 at 1:00 into the video
Contrary to claims by some of her apologists, the remark is not taken out of context, it is not contradicted by anything else she says in the speech, and it is not marred merely because it is factually mistaken. (CAIR was founded seven years before 9/11.) Nor is the problem a matter of inapt phrasing: Omar is a confident public speaker with a precise command of language and a knack for turning a phrase.
The problem is that the remark is foul.Bret Stephens, “Ilhan Omar, Harbinger of Democratic Decline”, New York Times, April 18, 2019
A video surfaced of freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar brushing off the 9/11 attacks as “some people did something.” Yes, Rep. Omar, “some people” (radical Islamists) “did something” (they murdered almost 3,000 innocent citizens in an act of cowardly, cold-blooded hate). And your shoulder shrugging ambivalence about it as if someone accidently ran a stop sign is disgusting. Those weren’t soldiers wearing Kevlar and carrying weapons who were slaughtered. They were office workers, flight attendants, business people, but especially just moms and dads, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors.Mike Huckabee, “Progressive Socialists Defend The Indefensible Again”, RealClear Politics, April 17, 2019
I have no issue with Ilhan Omar as an elected member of Congress. But I do have an issue when the congresswoman continues to foment anti-Semitism with her public statements.
Sadly, the majority of her Democratic colleagues have given her a pass. Some of her colleagues excused her for being ignorant. Some of her colleagues called her inexperienced. Some of them said that they will try to “educate” her.Rabbi Reuven H. Taff, Letter to the Editor, the New York Times, April 17, 2019
Silence is complicity, and the silence of Ms. Omar’s Democratic colleagues is deafening.
Democrats are right to condemn President Trump’s targeting of Ms. Omar and his message and tactics of hate and fear.
This does not mean Democrats should overlook the inarticulate statement of Ms. Omar that “some people did something” on 9/11.
Mr. Trump will knock this out of the park. He uses these kinds of statements to support his narrative that all Democrats are extreme and too P.C. to speak the truth.
The Democrats are in a tough position. While defending Ms. Omar’s right to speak without being threatened and targeted, they can’t continue to give cover to statements that are inarticulate at best or deny the severity of 9/11 at worst.Jim Salczynski, Letter to the Editor, The New York Times, April 17, 2019
Even as they defend her against the vicious racism she has encountered, Democrats have to make clear that they do not — and will not — defend her earlier comments about Israel and Jews.
Why pretend that victims are always blameless? They’re not. Irish-Americans suffered brutal discrimination from native Protestants in the 19th century, but also visited hatred and violence upon African Americans. In the New York draft riots of 1863, most notoriously, predominantly Irish mobs attacked African Americans around the city. The Colored Orphans Asylum, which sheltered over 200 children, was burned to the ground; so was America’s first black-owned pharmacy.
In California, likewise, Irish immigrant Dennis Kearney spearheaded attacks upon Chinese launderers, railway workers and miners. Founded in 1877 on the platform “Chinese Must Go,” Kearney’s Workingman’s Party helped spur an 1882 Congressional measure that barred Chinese immigrants from the United States.
Nobody in the United States has experienced more hatred and racism than African Americans, of course. But they too engaged in their own forms of discrimination, especially against Jews and Asians.
Growing up in Harlem in the 1920s, novelist James Baldwin often heard black ministers blame Jews for murdering Jesus. In rural Arkansas, likewise, Richard Wright taunted Jewish shopkeepers as “bloody Christ killers.”
And in the 1970s, as Asians built businesses in American inner cities, African Americans denounced them with slurs like “ching chong” and “chow mein.” Black performer Ice Cube blasted “Oriental one-penny-counting” Korean shopkeepers in a 1991 song, warning Koreans to “pay respect to the black fist” or “we’ll burn your store right down to a crisp.”
So there’s nothing inconsistent about expressing prejudice and experiencing it yourself. And that’s precisely what we see in the case of Omar, whose “Benjamins” tweet came on the heels of another remark accusing American Jews of promoting “allegiance to another country.”–Jonathan Zimmerman, “Victims of Bigotry Can Themselves Be Perpetrators”, New York Daily News, April 17, 2009
On Sunday, April 14, 2019 CNN and NPR talking head Alice Stewart (@alicetweet) appeared on ABCs This Week. She discussed Ilhan Omar’s recent comments about 911.
Alice Stewart said:
The outrage by the Democrats over President Trump’s response to that [Ilhan Omar’s 911 comments] is really disturbing. They should be more disturbed at what the congresswoman said: “something that someone did” when three thousand people died in the terror attack. They should be outraged at the constant antisemitic attacks. They should be outraged by her attacking people who support Israel. They should be outraged at that and come out in full force and denounce her statements. Instead they continue to allow her to do so.
Kudos to Alice Stewart. A talking head sitting next to Stewart at one point interrupted. Later, when Stewart finished, the commentator responded “what she said was…”