There have been numerous articles on the many claims that Ilhan Omar is anti-Semitic. When reporting on the latest controversy, I find that all of these articles are sanitized in that NO ONE questions the motivations of Elliot Engel (D, NY-16). The event took place on Wednesday, 27 Feb, and Engel posted his accusation on Friday, 1 Mar.
I find it outrageous that nearly any metaphor or simile that can be used to describe any aspect of humanity, suddenly becomes an "anti-Semitic trope" when used to try to discuss Israeli policies and actions. Our freedom of expression is squashed by the "political correctness" of some who demand fealty to their interpretation of the words and events even when there is little or no evidence to support the claim of anti-Semitism. I question the true purpose of their complaint. I reject the premise that Jews are so persecuted by all other peoples and nations of the world that they deserve special treatment; that Americans must never discuss the crimes committed by Israel. Indeed, when Representative Jim Clyburn tried to put Omar's remarks into context that her experience of having fled violence in Somalia and spending 4 years in a refugee camp is much more personal than that of the generations of Jews who have no direct experience of the Holocaust, he was accused of being anti-Semitic.
Here's what Engel posted, including the false claim that Omar, "invoke[d] an anti-Semitic stereotype". This Truthdig article, like all the others I've read, has but one innocuous mention of Engel. These articles are written in a way that Engel's claim that Omar is anti-Semitic is not questioned. Some of Omar's fellow Democrats were similarly critical. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) criticized Omar on Twitter and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) released a statement calling Omar's statement a "vile anti-Semitic slur."
Democracy Now provides an excellent summary of these events and includes the actual video of Omar's comments made at Busboys and Poets. It was well received in the room, especially when she said there is a direct connection to the obscene profits some corporations make and the many ills facing America. Phyllis Bennis at The Nation puts Engel's claim of a "vile comment" in context. She's a Jew, she was there, she heard no anti-semitism. However, Bennis doesn't mention Engel. There's no mention of any Jews claiming anti-Semitism. The largest room at the "Busboys and Poets" can only seat 120 people; there is standing room for maybe 100 more. Out of those 200+ people who may have been there, which one was the AIPAC operative that reported back to Israeli headquarters? Who was it in Israel that contacted Engel and scripted the statement condemning Omar? There may be many other intermediaries involved, but I do not believe for a second that some agency in Israel did not know and approve of Engel's statement. The Guardian correctly asks if pro-Israel lobby paid for the attack on Omar. But they did not ask Engel the important question, "Are you an AIPAC spy?" Yes, I am accusing Elliot Engel of being bought and paid for and having allegiance to a foreign power. I make the same demand of Engel that he makes of Omar: Prove otherwise.
This Time op-ed includes some polling information that predicts this issue is not going to go away. The louder the Jewish lobby complains the more they alienate those of us who used to believe that Israel was a good and just nation. I now see Israel as the casus belli for America's disastrous involvement in the Middle East. Israel has betrayed my trust. I find it very hard to listen any longer to the lies and deceit of pro-Israel representatives and groups who conflate Palestinian rockets with Israeli 500-pound bombs. Who refuse to recognize that Gaza is an open-air concentration camp as dangerous to the Palestinians as any WWII concentration camp as snipers shoot to maim. Who insist that it was acceptable that an Israeli bulldozer ran over Rachael Corrie. Who do not see the hypocrisy in Israel's new law declaring Israel a Jewish state. Who refuse to acknowledge that Israel attacked and nearly destroyed the USS Liberty-- yes a US Navy ship! Many have pointed out that Israel can be a democracy or it can be a racist state solely for Jews. Elliot Engel does not question this Israel policy. If he cannot stand for democracy in Israel, how can he stand for democracy In the USA?
There are two Al Jazeera documentaries that are must viewing for anyone who wants to enter into this discussion. "The Lobby" is a four-part series that exposes how AIPAC operates in Great Britain and includes descriptions of how AIPAC ignores campaign-finance laws. "The Lobby - USA" is a four-part series on AIPAC in the USA. Part 4 is very enlightening in that it exposes how by a pro-BDS vote at the University of California, Davis was sabotaged by AIPAC and how they released video to a gullible local TV station that broadcast the propaganda and helped it go nationwide.
I call on Nancy Pelosi to remove Elliot Engel as head of the House Foreign-Affairs Committee. As long as Engel is the chair, Israel's war crimes will never be discussed. The US will never end its persecution of Yemen. The US will never leave Syria. The US will continue to persecute Iran and bring us to the edge of war over and over and over again.
Americans must recognize the danger that Israel puts us in and we must withdraw our support of Israel or the rest of the world will call us on our hypocrisy and the "American Century" will quickly come to an end as our allies abandon us.
I'm a Democrat but I will never again make the mistake of voting for a Corporatist. I proclaim as loudly as I can that I -DO- have the option of voting for "none of the above". You want my vote, address my issues. Don't tell me how bad the other (more...