Rep. Omar’s Removal Was Hypocritical

Sana Wazwaz, staff writer

Two hundred eighteen Republicans voted on Feb. 3 to remove the most raging anti-Semite in Congress from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It wasn’t that anti-Semite that dined with Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes or the one that argues that wildfires in California were caused by space lasers funded by Rothschilds (definitely not Marjorie Taylor Greene — she’s actually getting reinstated). This anti-Semite, this notorious anti-Semite spouted an observation that warrants unique ex-communication — Representative Ilhan Omar. 

What did Omar say that was so preposterously anti-Semitic? She called out a lobby group — like any that influences policy, be it the NRA or Big pharma or otherwise. She said this lobby group drives US geopolitical support for a foreign nation-state. And which state is this such that her criticism made the space-laser claim look like nothing? The state of Israel.

In February 2019, Rep. Omar controversially tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world” and that our support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins,” which sparked widespread accusations of anti-Semitism. She quickly went on to publicly apologize to the Jewish community and condemn anti-Semitism, but four years later, it came back to haunt her. Now, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — the same McCarthy who once panicked that “Soros and Bloomberg would buy the election,” has led a vicious campaign to remove her on the basis of anti-Semitism. But this excuse is a farce. Rep. Omar’s removal had nothing to do with anti-Semitism but was suppression that is anti-Palestinian. 

I’m not saying that because Greene is much worse, Omar is inherently innocent — but there’s no unequivocal evidence they were directed at Jews. Her statement is no more anti-Semitic than to say “China hypnotized the world” is anti-Chinese racism. She never even referenced Jews, as AIPAC isn’t even exclusively represented by them — so the conflation is faulty. Jewish journalist Seth Ackerman puts it best, “The words referred to[…] a constellation of forces in which Christian evangelicals like Texas governor Greg Abbott […] feature as prominently as Jews.” But the fact that Kevin McCarthy hears “AIPAC” or “Israel,” — a modern nation-state and foreign government — and conflates it with Jews — a 4,000 year old ethnoreligious group — is telling. Omar wasn’t the one that made that conflation, so is she the biggest anti-Semite here?  

Proponents of Omar’s removal attempt to refute this point, claiming that people often use Israel as a euphemism for Jews, and that her use of money tropes implies them. This argument is erroneous. 

It is undeniable that statements linking the Jewish community to big money should be vehemently condemned given their centrality to Nazism. However, in the context of policy, opposition to lobbying — from gun lobbying, to fossil-fuel lobbying — is just a generic point of contention. Omar has historically spoken out against all these lobby groups. There is no evidence in this instance she had a different agenda. To suggest that given the trope’s sensitivity, Omar’s comments should’ve been worded differently is fine. But to insist that despite her apology, despite history speaking out against lobby influence in general, that her statement was directing the trope against Jews? This is unfounded. 

Would I also be Islamophobic if I call out Saudi Arabia’s misogynistic policies against women? That also echoes a dangerous trope. Similar to the Jewish money trope, there’s a long-standing stereotype of Muslims being oppressive to women. But does that mean that to criticize the misogyny of a self-proclaimed Muslim country is to reinforce the stereotype against Muslims themselves? Isn’t it more Islamophobic to conflate Muslims with the government of Saudi Arabia?

If this removal was about anti-Semitism, space laser conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene would also be removed rather than reinstated. So would every one of the 23 Republicans that voted against a bill to condemn anti-Semitism — a bill that Omar has endorsed. They aren’t receiving this treatment because Omar is a Muslim woman calling out unconditional support for our special ally — the longest military occupation in modern history. That’s what this is really about.