Saturday, March 9, 2019

Feeding the Monster: On Ilhan Omar, Antisemitism, and Islamophobia

Ilhan Omar, as a Muslim, has no reason to love the state of Israel. I don't expect her to do so, but I wish she would not to feed the antisemitic monster, either. It is almost as hungry for Muslim blood as it is for Jewish.

The only reason she's being censured in the media is because of her skin color and religion. Republican antisemites, all the way up to Donald Trump himself, have been talking antisemitism for years. No wave of outrage there. But when a black American Muslim says it, they start clutching their pearls.

But she did say it. Back in 2012, she tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” She has since become more subtle, but the echoes are still in her language and she keeps repeating the offense. In 2018, leaders of Minneapolis’ Jewish community spoke with her, and came away unsatisfied. https://www.twincities.com/2019/02/12/mn-jewish-leaders-talked-with-ilhan-omar-about-anti-semitism-last-year-why-they-remain-frustrated/.

I am underwhelmed by the response of many non-Jewish liberals and leftists of various stripes. White people don’t get to forgive racism on behalf of blacks. White people don’t get to forgive antisemitism on behalf of Jews. From Alex Zeldin, in the Jewish magazine Forward, we have an extended discussion of the problems of her language. Jews are right to be angry and scared: https://forward.com/opinion/420269/for-jews-ilhan-omars-attack-against-allegiance-to-israel-is-all-too/.

I like the remarks of Rabbi Ruti Regan, no lover of the Israeli right wing herself:
Things that apparently need saying in this repetitive stale hell of a news cycle: 1) Neither the American Jewish community nor Israel is secretly hypnotizing America. 2) Congresswoman Omar is not a terrorist and the American Muslim community is not a terrorist group. –https://twitter.com/RutiRegan/status/1102386123526029313
The end result of all of this is to both offend Jews and to reinforce the position of the most aggressive supporters of Israel.

As a side comment, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's response (https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1102925532604391425) was impressive, neither supporting the language nor adding fuel to the fire. AOC will be Presidential material, if there is still a Presidency when she is old enough.

2 comments:

The Blog Fodder said...

I fail to see any connection between condemning Israel's treatment of Palestinians and anti-Semitism. Those who support Israel's actions against Palestinians call "anti-semitism" because it makes people feel guilty and covers them from proper criticism. Republican Jesus Christians are anti-Semitic but love Israel because the more problems caused in the Middle East, the sooner Christ will return. They are just helping God.

Raven Onthill said...

The problem is that some Palestinians have made common cause with antisemites. On top of which, Ms. Omar has picked up some of that language. Her recent remarks were a bit unsettling, but she has a history of much worse, and I can only hope that she has not taken antisemitism to heart.