We have to begin by making one thing that should be obvious but apparently isn’t clear: criticizing Israel doesn’t make someone antisemitic. Israel is a government. It does not represent all Jewish people. Questioning governmental policy shouldn’t be seen as attacking an entire religion.
Before discussing Congresswoman Omar, let’s establish a few facts:
- Republican congressman Jim Jordan recently tweeted Tom Steyer’s name as $teyer. Tom Steyer is a Jewish Democrat. No one called for a resolution condemning Jordan. No one even forced him to apologize.
- Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, tweeted that George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, and Tom Steyer (all Jewish Democrats, were trying to buy the election. No resolution has been offered condemning McCarthy.
- During debate on the House floor, Republican Jason Smith yelled at Democrat Tony Cardenas to “Go back to Puerto Rico”. No resolution has been filed to condemn Smith.
- In July of 2013, Republican Steve King said Mexicans coming into America have calves the size of cantaloupes from carrying marijuana through the desert. At that time, Republicans controlled the House. No resolution was offered condemning King’s remarks.
- Last Friday, the Republican Party of West Virginia hosted a gathering in the rotunda of the state’s capital building. One of the exhibits showed a picture of the World Trade Center exploding. The other picture was of Congresswoman Omar. The message from the West Virginia GOP was clear: all Muslims are terrorists and responsible for September 11th. The number of condemnations of the West Virginia GOP from Congress and the media has been a fraction of the coverage Congresswoman Omar’s comments have received.
Last week, Congresswoman Omar suggested that pro-Israel activists were “pushing for allegiance to a foreign country.” In response, House Democratic leadership began drafting a resolution condemning antisemitism. As of this writing, the resolution is being modified or could be dropped all together.
While the changes or elimination of the resolution are welcome developments, the resolution’s existence, the leadership’s original plan to bring it to the floor, and the media coverage it has generated–all prove the idea Omar supports, but doesn’t effectively advance, that America doesn’t question Israel enough.
Members of the Republican leadership can tweet about Rich Jewish Democrats, but Omar can’t speak her mind. A republican can tell a Democrat to go back to Puerto Rico, but Omar can’t speak her mind. The entire Republican Party of the state of West Virginia can call Congresswoman Omar a terrorist because of her faith, but Congresswoman Omar can’t speak her mind.
Whether you agree with Congresswoman Omar, you think she’s fundamentally wrong, or you are somewhere in the middle–you can’t ignore the double standard she, as a Muslim woman, is being subjected to by Congress and the media. It would be nice if Democratic leadership, I’m thinking of you Nancy Pelosi, was effective enough to not be tricked into playing the dirty games the GOP wants to play. Sadly she and her leadership team seem more interested in pitting groups and people against each other while calling for unity. In doing so, they are showing everyone that Omar’s message–not all of her ideas and thoughts–have merit.