Ilhan Omar is in the news again. Yesterday, in an interview with Zainab Salbi of Yahoo News, Omar said that she “almost chuckles” at the idea that Israel is a democracy. Instead, she equates Israel to Iran. Israel is a Jewish state, Iran is an Islamic state, what’s the difference? For what it is worth, I think Omar may actually be that stupid. Here is the relevant portion of the interview:
And that’s not all! Omar also tweeted a commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day. Only the Holocaust got second billing:
Today #WeRemember the murder of 17 million people, including 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis.
With the rise of Anti-Semitic and Neo-Nazi ideology, it's more important than ever we learn from the atrocities of the past & commit to fighting intolerance. #HolocaustMemorial https://t.co/8jpJ8olBaD
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 27, 2019
The 17 million number has been estimated by some sources; it consists largely of Russians and Poles who died on the Eastern front. There is no question that millions perished as a result of Nazi brutality, above and beyond the 6 million Jews they liquidated. But the differences are obvious: the Jews were the only ones the Nazis hunted down throughout Europe, wherever they dominated, and sought to exterminate, almost successfully. There was no “final solution” to rid the Earth of Poles or Russians.
Omar’s faux concern about “Anti-Semitic and Neo-Nazi ideology” is also rich. She is one of the leading anti-Semites in American public life, and if neo-Nazis are a political force in this country, I’ve somehow missed it.
The real point, though, is that Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism finds a comfortable home in the Democratic Party. In the 21st Century, anti-Semitism’s usual form is an obsessive and inconsistent concern with alleged (if usually imaginary) misdeeds on the part of Israel. Hundreds of thousands murdered in Syria? Who cares? A Palestinian teenager arrested in Israel? OMG!!
The Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement seeks to destroy Israel by de-legitimizing it and depriving it of normal economic relationships. It is fundamentally evil, but it finds widespread support in the Democratic Party. The Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, of which Marco Rubio is a leading sponsor, deals mainly with America’s security relationship with Israel. It recognizes Israel as a partner in the fight against terrorism and provides for cooperation in a number of ways.
The provisions of the Act that I take to be controversial are in Title IV–the “Combating BDS Act of 2019.” Title IV allows–doesn’t require, but permits–state and local governments to divest assets of, prohibit investment in, or restrict contracting by, entities that try to destroy Israel by participating in the BDS “movement.” Anti-Israel forces are bitterly opposed to Title IV.
On Monday, the Senate voted for cloture on the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act, 74-19. All 19 senators who voted against the measure are Democrats.
Most interesting are the votes of those Democrats who are running for president. Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren all voted No (i.e., against Israel). The only likely presidential candidate who voted in favor of cloture was Amy Klobuchar. Kamala Harris missed the vote because she was announcing her presidential candidacy in Iowa, and Cory Booker missed it because–I assume–he wanted to straddle the fence. The Democrats’ presidential candidates no doubt have a good sense of how the Democrats’ primary voters feel about Israel.
This vote is just the latest chapter in a long story–the Democrats’ steady movement toward an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic posture. Democrats like Chuck Schumer are a relic of the past. The “New Party,” as twenty-something socialists call it, hopes for the destruction of Israel, not only out of anti-Semitic instinct but because Israel is a solid American ally. An anti-American program is necessarily also anti-Israel.
That is the way things stand in 2019.