Tag Archives: AntiSemitism

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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Dems draft anti-Semitism resolution following Omar's remarks

Dems draft anti-Semitism resolution following Omar's remarksWASHINGTON (AP) — Leading House Democrats will offer a resolution Wednesday condemning anti-Semitism in response to Rep. Ilhan Omar's latest remarks on Israel, a senior Democratic aide said.



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Resolution Condemning Anti-Semitism Splits House Democrats

Resolution Condemning Anti-Semitism Splits House DemocratsHouse Democrats clashed during a closed-door meeting Wednesday over how best to respond to Representative Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) repeated use of anti-Semitic tropes to impugn the motivations and patriotism of her pro-Israel colleagues.A number of Omar's fellow progressives lashed out at Democratic leadership for agreeing to vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to Omar's recent claim that her pro-Israel colleagues are motivated by a nefarious “dual loyalty” to the U.S. and Israel.Representative Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D., N.J.) was the first to question the leadership's decision to vote on the resolution and suggested it played into the hands of Republicans and "the media," according to the Washington Post.“We’ve individually and collectively already responded to the fact that we oppose all ‘-isms’ that do not treat people in this country fairly and justly,” she said. “To continue to engage in this discussion is simply an opportunity to give both the media and Republicans distractions from our agenda. We’ve got important work to do.”Representative Cedric Richmond (D., La.) suggested that President Trump, not Democratic leaders, should be responsible for policing bigotry within the caucus.“I think there’s a big rise in anti-Semitism and racism, and that’s a bigger conversation we need to be having.” Richmond reportedly said during the meeting. “But it starts at 1600 Pennsylvania. It doesn’t start with one member out of 435 members of Congress.”Representative Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) echoed Richmond's remarks during the meeting, suggesting it would be hypocritical to condemn religious bigotry without addressing Trump's rhetoric. “We need to have equity in our outrage,” she said.“The occupant of this White House who is seeding every form of hate, emboldening it with racist rhetoric and policies, that is who we all need to be focused on, and this is a distraction,” Pressley told the Post after the meeting.Speaking at a progressive town-hall event in Washington, D.C, last week, Omar argued that the anti-Semitism accusations she's faced since being elected represent a concerted effort to shutdown debate over how the U.S. should engage with Israel.“What I’m fearful of — because [Representative] Rashida [Tlaib] and I are Muslim — that a lot of our Jewish colleagues, a lot of our constituents, a lot of our allies, go to thinking that everything we say about Israel to be anti-Semitic because we are Muslim,” said Omar.“So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” she later added.The remarks drew immediate public criticism from senior House Democrats Nita Lowey and Elliot Engel of New York.> Lawmakers must be able to debate w/o prejudice or bigotry. I am saddened that Rep. Omar continues to mischaracterize support for Israel. I urge her to retract this statement and engage in further dialogue with the Jewish community on why these comments are so hurtful.> > — Nita Lowey (@NitaLowey) March 2, 2019“Her comments were outrageous and deeply hurtful, and I ask that she retract them, apologize, and commit to making her case on policy issues without resorting to attacks that have no place in the Foreign Affairs Committee or the House of Representatives,” Engel said in a statement on Friday.It remains unclear whether the resolution, which was amended earlier this week to condemn anti-Muslim bigotry as well as anti-Semitism, will receive a vote.



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House plans vote condemning anti-Semitism, aimed at comments by Ilhan Omar

House plans vote condemning anti-Semitism, aimed at comments by Ilhan OmarA resolution condemning anti-Semitism is circulating among members of the House of Representatives in the wake of controversial comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.



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Rep. Ilhan Omar criticized again for alleged anti-Semitism

Rep. Ilhan Omar criticized again for alleged anti-SemitismST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Rep. Ilhan Omar came under a fresh round of criticism Friday for remarks about Israel that critics decried as anti-Semitic.



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Rep. Ilhan Omar deletes the controversial tweets that drew charges of anti-Semitism

Rep. Ilhan Omar deletes the controversial tweets that drew charges of anti-SemitismRep. Ilhan Omar apologized for the tweets the next day.



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Almost 100 Jewish graves desecrated hours before French march against 'unprecedented' anti-Semitism surge

Almost 100 Jewish graves desecrated hours before French march against 'unprecedented' anti-Semitism surgePresident Emmanuel Macron has promised to punish vandals who daubed swastikas on almost 100 graves at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France just hours before nationwide rallies to denounce an “unprecedented” wave of anti-Semitic acts. "We shall act, we shall pass laws, we shall punish," Mr Macron told Jewish leaders while inspecting the 96 tombstones daubed with blue and yellow swastikas in the village of Quatzenheim, near the Alsatian city of Strasbourg. His words came before almost all of France’s political leaders were due to convene at a march in Paris against a recent surge in anti-Semitic acts, which rose 74 per cent last year.   "Those who did this are not worthy of the Republic," said Mr Macron, later placing a white rose on a tombstone commemorating Jews deported to Germany during the Second World War. Another grave bore the words "Elsassisches Schwarzen Wolfe" ("Black Alsatian Wolves), a separatist group with links to neo-Nazis in the 1970s. This is the second such cemetery in the area to be vandalised since December, along with a nearby monument to Holocaust victims. Marches took place on Tuesday night across France Credit: BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded a Europe-wide response to anti-Semitism and his government's immigration minister later issued a call for French Jews to 'come home'.  Mr Macron was also due to pay his respects at the Paris Holocaust memorial on Tuesday ahead of the anti-racism marches, attended in Paris by the prime minister and leaders of all parties bar the far-Right National Rally, which will hold its own ceremony. France has been appalled by a series of anti-Semitic acts in recent days, culminating last weekend in a violent barrage of insults against a prominent French writer at a yellow vest protest. In the filmed incident, a man can be seen branding the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut a "dirty Zionist" and telling him "France belongs to us”. Police intervened to protect philosopher and writer Alain Finkielkraut after he was targeted by on the fringe of a yellow vest protest in central Paris on February 16, 2019 Credit: ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP While several high-profile yellow vests were due to attend the anti-hate marches, a recent Ifop poll of self-professed “gilets jaunes” found that nearly half those questioned believed in a worldwide "Zionist plot" and other conspiracy theories. "The yellow vests aren't an anti-Semitic movement," said Jean-Yves Camus of the Political Radicalisation Observatory in Paris. "But it's a leaderless, horizontal movement… and extremist elements have been able to drown out the voices of its high-profile figures in the media," he told AFP. Edouard Philippe, the prime minister, called for a “sacred union” against anti-Semitism, saying it had “very deep roots in French society”.  At more than half a million, France is home to Europe’s biggest Jewish community but anti-Semitic attacks remain common. A rabbi and three children were killed at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012 by an Islamist gunman, and in 2015 four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris were among 17 people killed by Islamist militants. In 2006, 23-year-old Ilan Halimi was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by an anti-Semitic gang. A tree in his memory was hacked down this month. France is reeling from a string of anti-Semitic acts Credit: BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS In recent days, artwork on two Paris post boxes showing the image of Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor and former magistrate, was defaced with swastikas, while a bagel shop was sprayed with the word "Juden", German for Jews, in yellow letters. National Assembly president Richard Ferrand on Tuesday denounced “an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic acts”. Responding to the grave desecration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “I call on all French and European leaders to take a strong stand against anti-Semitism.” His immigration minister, Yoav Galant, sent a tweet calling on French Jews to quit France and "come home" to Israel, where around 200,000 French Jews already live. France's parliament on Tuesday debated whether anti-Zionism should be classified as a form of anti-Semitism, a stance Mr Macron said he opposes.



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Iran rejects anti-Semitism allegation by Pence

Iran rejects anti-Semitism allegation by PenceIran on Saturday rejected accusations of anti-Semitism leveled against it by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, saying it respected Judaism but opposed Israel, which Tehran said was acting like a “killing machine against the Palestinians”. Pence accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism on Friday after visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, maintaining his harsh rhetoric just a day after attacking European powers for trying to undermine U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic. “Iran’s historic and cultural record of coexistence and respect for divine religions, particularly Judaism, is recorded in reliable historic documents of various nations,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said.



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