MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

The shameful attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar – Mondoweiss

Posted by M. C. on March 12, 2019

Never, in all this time, was there a critical examination of what she actually said. Never did she accuse the Jewish community of controlling the media (unless one assumes that Israel’s ability to dominate media coverage of events occurring in the occupation can be attributed to the Jewish community). Nor did she ever accuse the Jewish community of using money to buy influence in Washington (unless one suggests that AIPAC speaks for and acts on behalf of the entire Jewish community).

https://mondoweiss.net/2019/03/shameful-attacks-ilhan/

What is happening to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar should be of concern to all Americans. Because she has dared to challenge the way supporters of Israel have worked to silence debate on US policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she has become a victim of incitement and hate crimes, and the target of legislation meant to shame her.

The weapon of choice in this campaign has been to demonize her as an antisemite. Her “sin”, it appears, is her continued umbrage over the double-standard that exists in American policy toward Israel and its treatment of Palestinians.

During Israel’s assault on Gaza, for example, she criticized the failure of the US to pierce through Israeli propaganda and see what was actually happening to Palestinians in that impoverished strip of land. Then after facing down attacks by her new congressional colleagues, she “sinned” once again when she challenged the power of AIPAC to intimidate politicians and silence debate on Israel/Palestine.

New to Washington and what was and was not the “acceptable language” one should use to discuss these issues, she admitted that her word choices had been unfortunate and apologized for the pain she may have caused.
Even with the apology, the die had been cast — she remained a target.

Because she was a hijab-wearing Muslim, who was critical of Israel, the GOP sought to exploit her in their continuing effort to drive a wedge between the Jewish community and Democrats…

What was especially disturbing was that because she was called “antisemitic” so frequently  the term stuck. Never, in all this time, was there a critical examination of what she actually said. Never did she accuse the Jewish community of controlling the media (unless one assumes that Israel’s ability to dominate media coverage of events occurring in the occupation can be attributed to the Jewish community). Nor did she ever accuse the Jewish community of using money to buy influence in Washington (unless one suggests that AIPAC speaks for and acts on behalf of the entire Jewish community).

The entire affair came to a head when, at a Town Hall last week, Omar explained herself. Asked to address the controversy that had erupted over her advocacy of Palestinian rights, Omar’s colleague, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, spoke first noting that to her the question of Palestine is personal – it is her grandmother still living in the West Bank and her desire that she receive equal justice and recognition of her rights to live in dignity.

Reacting to what she had just heard, Omar said that she couldn’t accept those who fight for human rights and dignity for others and yet exclude Palestinian rights and dignity. For her part, she said, the focus would be universal – leaving no one out. She then chided those in congress who have pressed her to reject her commitment to call out Israeli abuses and ignore Palestinians rights. Because she is a Muslim, she said, her criticism of Israel has been automatically seen as antisemitic in order to silence her. Even more troubling to her was that, as a result of the manufactured controversy over her words, the discussion has become whether or not she’s an antisemite, while ignoring “the broader debate about what is happening in Palestine.”…

It’s important to note, however, that outside of the halls of Congress a different reality is unfolding. The attacks on Congresswoman Omar are being rejected by many Democrats, including progressive Jewish groups, and a debate has been sparked by the issues she has raised and the over-reaction to them by congress.

The House of Representatives may pass their resolution, but that won’t close the door on the discussion Omar’s courage has helped to open. If anything, their behavior and incitement against her has pried it open even further.

Be seeing you

aipac

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