Michelle Goldberg: Ilhan Omar Damaged Her Democratic Allies and Squandered Some of Her Own Hard-Won Power

Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour and Minn. Rep. Ilhan Omar have both expressed blatant anti-Semitism on more than one occasion — even to progressives who generally are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour and Minn. Rep. Ilhan Omar have both expressed blatant anti-Semitism on more than one occasion — even to progressives who generally are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

Writing for The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg reminds us that when America was unsettled over a crude mail bomb being found in the mailbox of George Soros, Representative Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who is now the House minority leader, tweeted, “We cannot allow Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg to buy this election!”  Interviewed on CNN about receiving his own mail bomb, Steyer described McCarthy’s tweet as a “straight-up anti-Semitic move.”

There was no self-reflection, then, when Kevin McCarthy became a defender of Jews, threatening to force congressional action against two outspoken new Democratic representatives, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, for their criticism of Israel. Rather than rise above Kevin McCarthy, Omar found herself in the same sewer, quoting Puff Daddy’s ode to the power of money: “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.” When an editor at The Forward, a Jewish publication, asked who Omar thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, she responded, “Aipac!,” meaning the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the United States’ most prominent pro-Israel lobby.

In the aftermath of her Monday afternoon public rebuke by Democratic leadership, the Minnesota representative Omar apologized. Many Democrats challenged her sincerity, but my focus is the same as Goldberg’s: Ilhan Omar damaged her Democratic allies and squandered some of her own hard-won power. In my opinion, she also embarassed her adult constituents, their children and other Somali refugees. I doubt she understands the extent to which she has damaged her power — and women fight very hard for that power in Washington. As we noted yesterday, it’s not the first apology that Rep. Omar has made about her anti-Semitism.

Many of us don’t like Aipac and the emergence of an increasingly powerful — dominant actually — right-wing in Israel. Goldberg writes: “. . . at a moment when activists have finally pried open space in American politics to question our relationship with Israel, it’s particularly incumbent on Israel’s legitimate critics to avoid anything that smacks of anti-Jewish bigotry. And the idea of Jews as global puppet masters, using their financial savvy to make the gentiles do their bidding, clearly does. “

The blatant anti-Semitism of Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory of The Women’s March left heads spinning among Jewish and most progressive women during most of 2018. Hammering against all white American women in general, Sarsour and Mallory also condemned any American Jewish woman who wasn’t willing to denounce Israel in support of the Palestinians. To use Goldberg’s words: “that’s a bit rich”, especially by Mallory who refuses to criticize her friend, the ragingl anti-Semite Reverend Louis Farrakhan, who she calls the GOAT.

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