Politics

Ilhan Omar: The Effluent of Leftist Identity Politics

But if Democrats ever start to lose Jewish votes in significant numbers, watch out.

Nate Jackson · Feb. 12, 2019

Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar appears to think her roll as a freshman member of Congress is to troll the president, tell lies about Catholic boys, and peddle anti-Semitism. After already facing rebuke for a 2012 tweet asserting that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” Omar suggested Israel’s American political allies were motivated solely by money, saying, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” — clearly a nod to old stereotypes about Jews and money. Given her own Muslim faith, associations with other anti-Semitic individuals, backing of the socialist and anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and general support for the Palestinians terrorizing Israel, Omar’s comment is more than just misspeaking. There’s a hate-Israel pattern here. The same can be said of her fellow Muslim congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Stung in recent years by valid charges of rampant anti-Semitism in their ranks — not to mention the whole racist fiasco in Virginia — Democrats may have had enough. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat leaders quickly issued a statement condemning Omar’s “use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters” and demanding an apology.

That apology was soon forthcoming, but Omar couldn’t resist a wink and nod to make clear it wasn’t sincere. “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” she said. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. … I unequivocally apologize.” But then she added, “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists [like] AIPAC” — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Translation: Sorry not sorry.

At least she has the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

From a larger perspective, the growing anti-Semitism on the Left could become a political problem for Democrats. More than 75% of American Jews voted Democrat in the 2018 midterms, and that’s roughly in line with most of the last century. There are 34 Jews in Congress, and all but two are Democrat.

Dennis Prager and Don Feder, both conservative Jews, have attempted to explain this seeming paradox. The situation may be unlikely to change anytime soon, but Democrats must also be careful to sweep their anti-Semites under the rug where they won’t cause too much voter bleed. That also explains their effort to elevate a small rabble of anti-Semitic “alt-right” loudmouths and tie them to President Donald Trump. Like blacks or women, if Democrats ever begin to lose Jews in serious numbers, they’ll be in serious trouble.

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