Tag Archives: AntiSemitism

Trump sees advantage in debate over Israel, anti-Semitism

Trump sees advantage in debate over Israel, anti-SemitismWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump can't get enough of Rep. Ilhan Omar.



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House Democrats Finding It Hard to Confront Anti-Semitism

House Democrats Finding It Hard to Confront Anti-SemitismThe Democratic party is having a rough time condemning anti-Semitism. Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has, on several occasions, made classically anti-Semitic claims about American Jews, and the effort to formally denounce those statements in the House ruined a week in which the Democrats were supposed to talk about their agenda.The gist of Omar’s complaints is that the perfidious, string-pulling Hebraic hordes control Congress with their shady shekels; Israel has hypnotized the world; and American Jews are guilty of dual loyalty.The controversies have been compounded by the fact that her apologies suggest she’s not actually apologetic. Omar has claimed that the anti-Semitism charge is an effort to silence her because she wants to talk about the Jewish scheme to “push for allegiance to a foreign country.” In an earlier sorry-not-sorry episode, she apologized for hurting anyone’s feelings, which is not quite the same thing as recanting.The whole issue of hurt feelings is a red herring — which is precisely why so many Democrats want to focus on feelings rather than on the relevant facts. Indeed, if Omar had better facts on her side, she wouldn’t be in this mess.For instance, Omar seems to think the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a political-action committee that funds candidates on behalf of Israel. Inconveniently for Omar, AIPAC isn’t a PAC, doesn’t work for Israel, and doesn’t donate to political campaigns.More interesting, however, is the Democratic leadership’s fact problem — namely the fact Omar simply isn’t a fan of Jews, or at least Jews who support Israel. It’s fine to be a critic of Israel, by the way. But when you hate the country so much that you can’t explain criticism of Israel without resorting to bigotry, you have a problem. Or rather, the Democratic party does.Because it’s not just Omar. If Omar had no sympathizers, House speaker Nancy Pelosi would probably have thrown her under the bus already. The younger, fresher, and more radical fringe of the party led by New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t think Omar should be singled out for criticism or censure. In fairness, the primary reason is not that they all share Omar’s hang-up with the Jews. Some are just anti-Israel. Others think it’s unfair that Omar should be criticized when Donald Trump or other Republicans have said bigoted things.Ocasio-Cortez called efforts to censure Omar “hurtful” because statements by other politicians, most obviously Trump, aren’t similarly condemned. She has something of a point. I certainly wish Republicans did more to condemn many of the things Trump has said. But she seems to have forgotten that Republicans did condemn and punish Iowa representative Steve King recently for his on-brand racist blather.So while Ocasio-Cortez is right to a point, that point doesn’t take her very far. It’s her party that has established a zero-tolerance-for-bigotry standard. And “whataboutist” arguments are the lowest form of defense. Some Republicans may be hypocrites for not condemning all bigotry equally, but that’s a criticism of Republicans, not a defense of Omar.The effort to avoid singling out Omar is putting Democrats in knots they will be hard-pressed to untie anytime soon. Pelosi has said Omar wasn’t “intentionally anti-Semitic.”Asked if Omar’s comment about Jewish dual loyalty was anti-Semitic, Representative Emmanuel Cleaver of Missouri offered this profile in courage: “It may or may not be. I haven’t thought deeply about it.”South Carolina’s James Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, offered a baffling defense of Omar by talking about — surprise! — her feelings. He says Omar’s experience as a refugee from Somalia who spent time in a Kenyan refugee camp has to be taken into account.“There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’ It’s more personal with her,” Clyburn told The Hill. “I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.”Leave aside the fact that whatever happened to Omar in Kenya or Somalia, it has nothing to do with Israel or Jews. Are we going to have greater tolerance for bigotry based on a time-since-victimhood score? Slavery was even longer ago than the Holocaust. Does that make racist comments less outrageous than anti-Semitic comments?On Thursday, Pelosi announced that the House would vote on a resolution condemning all forms of “hate.” It’s a transparent dodge to avoid condemning a specific kind of hate.It might do the trick to turn the page. But it will almost surely be a temporary respite, because Omar (and others) come to their anti-Semitism honestly, and they’re inclined to be honest about it. So we’ll be here again.



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Anti-Semitism part of wave of 'depraved hatred', pope says

Anti-Semitism part of wave of 'depraved hatred', pope saysIn comments to members of the American Jewish Committee during a visit to the Vatican, he also reiterated that it was sinful for Christians to hold anti-Semitic sentiments because they shared a heritage with Jews. “A source of great concern to me is the spread, in many places, of a climate of wickedness and fury, in which an excessive and depraved hatred is taking root,” Francis said. “I think especially of the outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks in various countries.” Francis did not name any of those countries, but government statistics released last month showed more than 500 anti-Semitic attacks occurred last year in France, which has Europe’s biggest Jewish community.



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House broadly condemns hate after anti-Semitism dispute

House broadly condemns hate after anti-Semitism disputeWASHINGTON (AP) — Divided in debate but mostly united in a final vote, the House passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other bigotry Thursday, with Democrats trying to push past a dispute that has overwhelmed their agenda and exposed fault lines that could shadow them through next year's elections.



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Democrats split over resolution condemning anti-Semitism aimed at newcomer Ilhan Omar

Democrats split over resolution condemning anti-Semitism aimed at newcomer Ilhan OmarA furious row over anti-Semitism erupted in the Democratic Party on Wednesday as its leadership attempted to pass a resolution seen as condemning language used by one of its own members. Senior Democrats wanted a statement to be adopted by the House of Representatives condemning "the dangerous consequences of perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes". The resolution was viewed as a direct rebuke of Ilhan Omar, a newly elected Democrat congresswoman who had compared support for Israel to "allegiance to a foreign country". However there was a heated backlash from fellow Democrats who said Ms Omar, who is on the Left of the party, was being unfairly singled out by the leadership. The dispute has echoes of the dispute over anti-Semitism raging in the Labour Party in Britain, which has seen MPs split on the severity of the problem and how to tackle it under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Ms Omar, who has already been once rebuked by Democratic leadership over her comments on Israel in the two months she has been in office, triggered this new row with a tweet: "I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee". The comments sparked suggestions Ms Omar was exploiting anti-Semitic tropes, but Ms Omar has not backed down. In the last few days the Minnesota congresswoman’s allies have spoken out in her support, highlighting that she has also been the target of threats and bigotry. None of this is “whataboutism.” Racism and bigotry of all forms is inextricably linked. When you don’t address them as a system and attempt to pick them apart as though they are distinct and separable issues, eventually the thing that gets advanced is white supremacy + classism.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 6, 2019 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was elected to Congress in November along with Ms Omar, suggested that her colleague was being treated unfairly. "No one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx + other communities," the representative for New York Democrat said in a tweet. During a party meeting Wednesday a number of Democrats, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, reportedly challenged the decision to pass a resolution. The members argued that the move will single out Ms Omar for a rebuke over her comments, while comments from Republicans go unchallenged by the chamber. "We need to have equity in our outrage… [including] the occupant of this White House who is seeding every form of hate, emboldening it with racist rhetoric and policies," congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, an ally of Ms Omar, told the Washington Post after the meeting. "That is who we all need to be focused on, and this is a distraction." House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said there may not be a vote this week on any resolution. "We’re discussing what is the best way to address it," he said. It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference. Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 6, 2019 Republicans have seized on the controversy, hoping to exploit divisions within the Democratic party and calling for Ms Omar to be removed from the Foreign Relations Committee. In a tweet of his own, Donald Trump, the US president, called Ms Omar’s remarks "a dark day for Israel". Ms Omar, a Somali-American, said that she is raising legitimate questions about influence in Washington and she worries that anything she says about Israel and its treatment of Palestinians can be construed as anti-Semitic. "Being opposed to (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and the occupation is not the same as being anti-Semitic," she tweeted on Sunday. "I am grateful to the many Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same." It is at least the third time Ms Omar has forced older pro-Israel Democrats in senior positions into awkward territory over US-Israeli policy. The controversy has presented a challenge for the Democratic leadership, torn between a need to admonish Ms Omar and appear in control of the newly elected progressive wing that is less willing to toe the party line. Democrats in Congress remain largely supportive of Israel, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who often attends the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, coming up later this month. An outpouring of support for Ms Omar prompted the party’s leaders to consider broadening the measure, to include a history of bigotry against Muslims and black people as well as Jews, to avoid dissent.



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House votes to condemn antisemitism following Ilhan Omar controversy

House votes to condemn antisemitism following Ilhan Omar controversyThe House of Representatives has passed a resolution condemning antisemitism and other forms of hate amid a row involving a Muslim congresswoman that exposed a sharp division between the Democratic Party’s establishment and its younger, more progressive members. The measure passed by the House 407-23, condemned antisemitism as “hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values and aspirations that define the people of the United States”. The passing of the resolution – support for which came from a number of Jewish members of Congress – followed a row among Democrats over remarks made by congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who last year become one of the two first Muslim women elected to congress.



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US anti-semitism debate exposes rifts as Dems hold 'hate' vote

US anti-semitism debate exposes rifts as Dems hold 'hate' voteAs a Muslim American congresswoman’s controversial remarks about Israel policy exposed deep fault lines among Democrats, the party aimed Thursday to mop up the mess by voting on a measure condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of hate. After days of soul-searching and febrile recrimination, the Democratic leadership unveiled a House resolution that Speaker Nancy Pelosi said declared the “strongest possible opposition” to anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, white supremacy and other bigotry. The resolution was set for a Thursday afternoon vote.



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Ilhan Omar comments: Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defend congresswoman over anti-semitism claims

Ilhan Omar comments: Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defend congresswoman over anti-semitism claimsProminent progressives including Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have come to the defence of Representative Ilhan Omar amid controversy following her criticism of pro-Israel groups and politicians, which some have deemed anti-semitic. Mr Sanders, who is Jewish, said that he believes the attacks on Ms Omar are aimed at silencing discussion of American foreign policy with regards to Israel. “What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate,” Mr Sanders, who is top democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement.



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The Latest: House Dems delay vote on anti-Semitism measure

The Latest: House Dems delay vote on anti-Semitism measureWASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism (all times local):



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Antisemitism debate exposes new fault lines in US politics

Antisemitism debate exposes new fault lines in US politicsThe fallout from comments by Ilhan Omar spans identity politics, party politics, geopolitics and a generational divide Ilhan Omar, the Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, has faced ferocious blowback for her comments. Photograph: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post/Getty Images An Israeli prime minister who has embraced Donald Trump and taken rightwing populism from his playbook. And a group of fiery young Democrats unafraid to question their elders or challenge the status quo. Put together, the elements were bound to be explosive. Democrats were
expected to offer a resolution condemning antisemitism on the floor of the US House of Representatives on Thursday following the latest provocative comments by Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who in January became one of the first two Muslim women in Congress. But the vote was pushed back as Democrats became increasingly divided over the language of the resolution, and whether it would be broadened to include anti-Muslim bias – a sign of the delicate balancing act for Democrats on a notoriously complex issue spanning identity politics, party politics, geopolitics and a generational divide. On Wednesday, Democrats accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders of trying to rush out the resolution after Omar last week suggested the Jewish state’s supporters are pushing lawmakers to pledge “allegiance” to a foreign country. “As a member of Congress I should not get important information from cable news,” Democratic congresswoman Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, who also took up her seat in January, said in a statement. Meanwhile, the controversy spread to the White House and the Senate. “It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference,” tweeted President Donald Trump, who has himself been accused of stoking anti-semitism. “Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!” Sign up for the US morning briefing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for president as a Democrat in 2020 and is Jewish, defended Omar. “Anti-Semitism is a hateful and dangerous ideology which must be vigorously opposed in the United States and around the world. We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel,” he said. “What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate,” he continued. “That’s wrong.” Democrats and Republicans alike have long expressed a rock-solid alliance with Israel. Leaders of both parties frequently address the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) conference in Washington, which is coming up later this month. Omar and other critics suggest that Aipac has too much sway over US policy. At last year’s conference the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, delivered a bellicose speech and “saluted” Trump for his plan to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Indeed, Netanyahu and Trump have perhaps the closest relationship of any two Israeli and US leaders in history, and much in common. Israel’s attorney general has said he intends to indict Netanyahu on corruption charges, while Trump is under investigation by the justice department, House Democrats and the federal prosecutors of the southern district of New York. Both men have punched back aggressively and cried “fake news!” Both are also accused of siding with far-right extremists in ways that threaten their respective democracies. So while there is nothing new about the US-Israel relationship drawing scrutiny from the left, the political moment is ripe. And it coincides with a younger generation far more willing to challenge old orthodoxies of foreign policy. In Congress, they are personified by Democratic newcomers including Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, who is also Muslim. “Being opposed to Netanyahu and the occupation is not the same as being antisemitic,” Omar, a hijab-wearing Somali American, tweeted on Sunday. “I am grateful to the many Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same.” Omar has apologised for a 2012 tweet in which she said Israel had “hypnotised” America, then again for suggesting that members of Congress support Israel because they are paid to do so. Both remarks were condemned for employing antisemitic tropes, including by some who do not shy away from criticising Israel when the occasion demands. Then came a third incident. Speaking at a progressives’ town hall event in Washington last week, Omar said: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Again, there was bipartisan outrage. Democrat Eliot Engel, chairman of the House foreign affairs committee, said it was a “vile antisemitic slur”. This time Omar refuses to say sorry. Kerri Evelyn Harris, a progressive former 2018 Democratic candidate for the US Senate in Delaware, was in the audience as Omar spoke. “She was very emotional when asked that question and her voice broke holding back the tears,” Harris said via text message. “The media is pulling out pieces of her comment in what I consider to be an attempt to divide people.” She added: “It’s a high-ratings controversy and the party and the movement alike are allowing it to drive a wedge out of reaction.” Post-it notes of support are left outside the office of Representative Ilhan Omar. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP Some on the left regard the fierce backlash as an alliance between Republicans and centrist Democrats, and speak of the foreign policy establishment lashing out by using charges of antisemitism. They suggest that there is a concerted effort to “nuke” Omar now as a warning to others in her generation against speaking out. The Democratic congressman Juan Vargas of California tweeted that Omar was perpetuating “hurtful anti-Semitic stereotypes” and added that “questioning support for the US-Israel relationship is unacceptable”. Ocasio-Cortez shot back: “Plenty of Dem members have asserted that discussion + debate on this issue is fair and merited. Is this stance a departure from that?” Plenty of Jewish Americans do debate the US-Israel relationship. Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, said: “Israel is a country and a member of the UN, subject to the same international conventions and treaties. But it is unfortunately not uncommon for criticism of Israel to cross a line into antisemitism, which is what happens when you have tropes about money or an international conspiracy. “Congresswoman Omar used a couple of stereotypes, but we are hyper-focused on her remarks and some are weaponising those remarks in a way that will hurt the Jewish community.” White nationalist groups marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, many chanting ‘Jews will not replace us!’ Donald Trump said they included some ‘very fine people’. Photograph: Mykal McEldowney/AP Some observers detect hypocrisy, suggesting that Omar is being singled out disproportionately because she is a Muslim woman and Democrat. After white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting “Jews will not replace us!” in 2017, Trump insisted “there were very fine people on both sides”. Charles Chamberlain, chair of Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee, said that while Democrats oppose antisemitism, “everyone paying attention knows that the particular resolution is being pushed right now, not to hold Republicans accountable for the countless times they have stood silently as the president whitewashed neo-Nazis, but instead to tell a newly elected, black, Muslim, refugee Congresswoman to sit down and shut up”. Democratic congressional leaders, he added, are playing “directly into the hands of rightwing forces in the United States and abroad, looking to divide Democrats and ignore essential questions about American foreign policy”. Omar has faced ferocious blowback. An anti-Muslim poster outside the chamber of the West Virginia house of delegates falsely connected her to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. Haroon Moghul, a fellow in Jewish-Muslim relations at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, said: “It’s not only a double standard on antisemitism but I’m yet to hear Republicans propose a resolution to condemn Islamophobia. Why speak out against one form of bigotry and not another?” But Moghul also said he wanted more from Omar. “My general disappointment is that rather than telling us what she’s for, she’s telling us what she’s against.”



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