North Texas Daily

Letter to the Editor: In response to ‘Ilhan Omar is not anti-semitic’

Letter to the Editor: In response to ‘Ilhan Omar is not anti-semitic’

Letter to the Editor: In response to ‘Ilhan Omar is not anti-semitic’
October 03
14:59 2019

From Richard Golden & Richard Ruderman:

In responding to charges of antisemitism against Rep. Omar, her defenders (such as Will Tarpley, “Ilhan Omar is not anti-Semitic,” North Texas Daily, Sept. 21, 2019) are always quick to remind us that being anti-Netanyahu or being anti-Zionist are not the same as being antisemitic. True enough. In fact, Omar has provided her defenders with no little help in being relatively careful about avoiding expressions of straightforward antisemitism. Most important, she has focused her attacks on all supporters of Israel, Jewish or not. Even when denouncing those who say “It is ok to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Omar was careful to lodge the “dual loyalty” charge against all supporters of Israel. So she condemns AIPAC for bewitching innocent American politicians with “Benjamins,” as though they would otherwise have no reason to support Israel. And since she has made a special effort to condemn non-Jewish political supporters of Israel, it is indeed hard to see how that could be antisemitic. Hard but not impossible. Ilhan Omar is injecting a new type of antisemitism into American life. Let’s call Omar’s innovation “honorary antisemitism.” That is, Omar in effect is announcing that “if you non-Jews dare to support Israel, we’ll treat you like a money-grubbing Jew.” Which sounds a lot like antisemitism after all.

In trying to isolate Jewish supporters of Israel from their long-standing non-Jewish allies in Congress, Omar is advancing the thesis that Jews should by rights have no allies when it comes to Israel. They should be on their own—presumably because that would open them up to the old charges of clannishness and special pleading. Certainly if support for Israel was restricted to Jews only—and of course not all American Jews support Israel—they would be easier to defeat. And how does she want them defeated? In announcing her support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which aims to eliminate the State of Israel, Omar makes tolerably clear that getting rid of Netanyahu won’t really cut it. In fact, only getting rid of Israel (BDS treats all of Israel as “occupied Palestine”) would suffice. Since Israel is the only nation-state tasked with protecting the Jewish people—and is the only democracy in the Middle East—opposing its existence is, in the end, tantamount to antisemitism after all.

It is important to be accurate. Mr. Tarpley states an obscene falsehood that AIPAC supports the killing of “thousands of Palestinians in Gaza.”

And if Mr. Tarpley thinks Omar’s critics use a too-expansive definition of antisemitism, he should be aware that the US State Department, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and now the UN Special Rapporteur for Religious Freedom all view “denying self determination to Jews” and “denying Israel’s right to exist” as examples of antisemitism. This means the particular anti-Israel views expressed by Omar are indeed a form of antisemitism.

Finally, we note that Omar’s recent failed plan to visit Israel was to be facilitated through Miftah, a Palestinian group that sympathizes with terrorists and that apologized for saying that Jews use “the blood of Palestinians in the Jewish Passover.”

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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