TEL AVIV, Israel — It’s January 2023, and that means Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar’s days with the House Foreign Affairs Committee are likely numbered.
For those who like antisemitics, this is bad news. But for everyone else, it’s time to pop the bubbly.
Republicans won the House. By week’s end, Republicans will lead the committees. By month’s end, Omar may very well be gone.
“McCarthy vows to remove Omar from foreign affairs committee,” The Times of Israel wrote in late November of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who’s running to be speaker.
And none too soon.
“Omar’s antisemitic and anti-Israel comments include when she accused the Jewish state of having ‘hypnotized the world,’ accused Jews of buying control of Congress, called Israel an ‘apartheid state,’ and likened Israel [and the United States] to the Taliban and Hamas terrorist groups,” BnaiBrith.org wrote in December.
On that last, it came in June 2021. That’s when Omar, by way of a Twitter post, wrote this: “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I asked @SecBlinken [U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken] where people are supposed to go for justice.”
Where, she asks? Well, not the Taliban. Nor Hamas. It may be difficult to equate terrorists with civilized societies, but — to quote the English, by jove, Omar’s done it.
Just recently, just this year, just these past months, and on the heels of the Biden administration’s abysmal exit from Afghanistan, Taliban members have been hunting down women, journalists, human rights activists, aides to Americans and so forth to punish, to the point of killing, for the crime of assisting U.S. forces over the past years. For the crime of trying to live freely. Then there are those 13 U.S. service members, blown to bits in Kabul — along with 170 or so Afghan civilians — during the hasty exodus of Afghanistan, by an ISIS suicide bomber who saw an opportunity and took it.
For that, Omar tweeted, “[The] terrorist attack on Afghans and U.S. service members was horrific, yet another reminder of the terror the people of Afghanistan continue to face.” More squishy than strong-on-sympathy-for-Americans. By contrast, Omar’s fellow Minnesotans weren’t quite so equivocating. Democrat Rep. Betty McCollum called the attack “devastating”; Democrat Rep. Dean Phillips said he was “praying” for the Marines over the “indescribably sickening and evil” act. But Omar: eh. Maybe that’s why President Donald Trump called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu back in mid-2019 to ban Omar and comrade-in-Israel-bashing-arms Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
“They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds,” Trump tweeted then. “They are a disgrace!”
As for Hamas — another one of Omar’s pet groups — it’s more of the anti-Israel same.
“In its conflict with Hamas in May , Israel endured a barrage of rockets — as well as war-crime accusation,” the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) wrote in November 2021. “After reviewing the Israeli Defense Forces’ operations during the Gaza conflict … we find these accusations spurious — fed by Hamas’ disinformation. … Delegitimizing Israeli operations — not military victory — was one of Hamas’ main objectives in this conflict.”
Maybe in Omar’s Muslim mind, Hamas and Taliban members are quite right in wishing to obliterate the Jewish state and in so doing, the Jewish people. But to the sane world, that’s called insane. And to the culturally clued-in, that’s also pretty antisemitic.
Omar had a chance to backtrack and apologize. But she made the situation worse, through her spokesman, Jeremy Slevin, who said, “As usual, the far right is ginning up hate against Rep. Omar.” But among the “far right” Slevin dismissed as simply “ginning up hate” against poor Omar were a dozen Democrats.
You know you’re antisemitic when even Democrats find your remarks offensively antisemitic.
“False equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups,” the group of 12 wrote in response to Omar’s remarks.
True. Very true.
So does ignorance.
One of the pro-Israel moves that Trump took during his presidency was to recognize, via a formal proclamation, the Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory. Trump also, in a similar pro-Israel move, cut more than $200 million in U.S. taxpayer-funded aid to Palestinians. For both actions, the Trump administration faced fire.
“Trump provokes global anger by recognizing Israel’s claim to Golan Heights,” The Guardian wrote in March 2019, about the responses of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria.
Meanwhile, Trump’s cut in aid to the Palestinians was billed by many on the left as the infliction of cruel and inhumane punishment onto a group of innocent and needy people.
But Trump’s critics are speaking out of ignorance. And if they’re not speaking out of ignorance, they’re speaking out of a misguided pro-Palestinian sympathizer view.
Israel, surrounded by enemies as it is, needs buffer zones to keep the missiles from a flyin’ and killing Jews. And aid for Palestinians, as comfort-sounding as it seemed, was actually being used against the interests of America and American allies. Why should America pay to harm American interests?
Of course, the much more soft-on-Israel administration of President Biden has restored much of that funding for the Palestinian people. And of course, that makes the world just a little bit more unsafe. When America is strong, and American leadership is strong, the world’s evil powers aren’t so emboldened to shake the foundations of democratic societies or challenge the governments of U.S. allies. Sorry, Israel. Two more years to go with Biden.
Omar may be one anti-Israel voice whose power to influence American foreign policy is about to be limited. And sidelining even one antisemite is always a good thing.
• Cheryl Chumley spoke at the Fourth Jerusalem Leaders Summit at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, hosted by the International Leaders Summit, in Jerusalem on Sept. 28 on the state of U.S.-Israel relations and fate of the Abraham Accords. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter and podcast by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Lockdown: The Socialist Plan To Take Away Your Freedom,” is available by clicking HERE or clicking HERE or CLICKING HERE.