There’s something rotten at the heart of US foreign policy, and this is just one small example.
questioning support for the US-Israel relationship is unacceptable…christ. That’s what is unacceptable. Israel is a corrupt genocidal theocracy, and US policy ought to be directed at supporting Israel while reducing their criminal behavior, rather than treating them as an aspirational model.
And what horrible thing did Omar say? All the critics seem to weasel around it. Here it is, though:
Last week, Ilhan Omar said something insensitive about the Israel lobby. While explaining her frustration with the way allegations of anti-Semitism can be used to suppress “the broader debate of what is happening with Palestine,” the Democratic congresswoman said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
When I just said, “Israel is a corrupt genocidal theocracy”, I said something far stronger than Omar simply questioning the idea of slavish devotion to Israel, as exhibited by American politicians. The article I’m quoting from, while mostly favoring her views, also buys into this weird notion that she said something “insensitive”. If you wanted to call me “insensitive”, I wouldn’t argue with you; what Omar said was the cautious advance of a view contrary to dogma, and was pretty darned politically careful. If anything, the author of that article is saying that Omar was too cautious in her criticisms.
The problem isn’t Congress’s “allegiance to a foreign country,” but its complicity in Jewish supremacy in the West Bank, an inhuman blockade in Gaza, and discrimination against Arab-Israelis in Israel proper.
Imagine if Omar had said that! But as he points out, Congress, including Democratic leaders, have fully accepted the righteousness of genocidal theocratic reasoning.
Speaking at AIPAC’s conference last year, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested that Israel did not need to end any of these practices — because the Arabs wouldn’t make peace with the Jewish State, even if it did:
Now, some say there are some who argue the settlements are the reason there’s not peace … some say it’s the borders … Now, let me tell you why — my view, why we don’t have peace. Because the fact of the matter is that too many Palestinians and too many Arabs do not want any Jewish state in the Middle East. The view of Palestinians is simple, the Europeans treated the Jews badly culminating in the Holocaust and they gave them our land as compensation.
Of course, we say it’s our land, the Torah says it, but they don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace. They invent other reasons, but they do not believe in a Jewish state and that is why we, in America, must stand strong with Israel through thick and thin.
When Schumer says that America “must stand strong with Israel,” he means that it must block any and all efforts to liberate Palestinians from race-based oppression. When the Obama administration declined to veto a unanimous U.N. resolution condemning Israel’s illegal settlements in 2016, Schumer decried the move as “frustrating, disappointing and confounding.”
I think it is Schumer’s view that is simple, and using the Torah as a justification is religious blithering…and that ought to be unacceptable in any evidence-based approach to policy. Meanwhile, Omar’s views are far more humanistic, and she gets accused of racism.
There are costs to selectively policing bigoted (or insensitive) speech. The Democratic Party’s decision to spotlight Omar’s moment of rhetorical insensitivity toward Zionists — while ignoring, or actively championing the oppression of Palestinians — distorts public understanding of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The party’s actions have the effect of casting Omar as the face of “extremism” on the Israel-Palestine issue, even though her official position — that any peace agreement must “affirm the safety and rights of both Palestinians and Israelis” — is more consistent with America’s purported values than almost any other lawmaker’s. Never mind that Chuck Schumer proudly defends Israel’s right to permanently disenfranchise Palestinians, as a means of protecting its ethnostate from the “demographic threat” posed by other people’s babies. Since Omar’s remarks attract bipartisan condemnation — while Schumer’s do not — it is Ilhan Omar who gets branded as “the Steve King of the left.”
Interesting. While Steve King of the Right gets sympathy and support from his colleagues, who refuse to condemn him other than a little mild tut-tutting, the “Left” in Congress is far more concerned with policing reasonable ideas that question the unthinking support for Israel than they are with the flagrant racism of the Republicans in power.
Here is Steve Scalise, who literally spoke at a white supremacist convention, saying that @Ilhan should not be getting intelligence briefings, suggesting she is a mole or otherwise dangerous. And Congress plans to rebuke…@Ilhan
History will not look kindly on this moment. https://t.co/8OSkO3uo1E
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) March 6, 2019
Seriously? Omar is going to be rebuked?