Keep it up, Ilhan Omar - Opinion - Israel News

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  • Keep it up, Ilhan Omar - Opinion

    Neither Hamas nor a black day, but a glimmer of hope on Capitol Hill
    Gideon Levy
    Mar 07, 2019

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-keep-it-up-ilhan-omar-1.6999623

    Maybe Mogadishu will turn out to be the source of hope. This war-torn city was the birthplace of the most promising U.S. congresswoman today.

    Ilhan Omar is not only one of the first two female Muslim members of the House of Representatives, she may herald a dramatic change in that body. “Hamas has entered the House,” Roseanne Barr was quick to cry out; “A black day for Israel,” tweeted Donald Trump. Neither Hamas nor a black day, but a glimmer of hope on Capitol Hill.

    Maybe, for the first time in history, someone will dare tell the truth to the American people, absorbing scathing accusations of anti-Semitism, without bowing her head. The chances of this happening aren’t great; the savage engine of the Jewish lobby and of Israel’s “friends” is already doing everything it can to trample her.

    The president mentioned removing her from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Congress was set to pass a resolution, the second in one month, against uttering “anti-Semitic expressions,” specifically aimed at Omar’s statements.

    >> We support you, Ilhan the heroine | Opinion

    When will Americans and Europeans stop running scared every time someone screams “anti-Semitism”? Until when will Israel and the Jewish establishment succeed in exploiting (the existing) anti-Semitism as a shield against criticism? When will the world dare to distinguish between legitimate criticism of an illegitimate reality and anti-Semitism?

    The gap between these two is great. There is anti-Semitism one must fight, and there is criticism of Israel and the Jewish establishment it is imperative to support. Manipulations exercised by the Israeli propaganda machine and the Jewish establishment have managed to make the two issues identical.

    This is the greatest success of the Israeli government’s hasbara: Say one critical word about Israel and you’re labeled an anti-Semite. And labeled an anti-Semite, your fate is obvious. Omar has to break this cursed cycle. Is the young representative from Minnesota up for it? Can she withstand the power centers that have already mobilized against her in full force?

    Maybe it’s important that she knows there are people in Israel crossing fingers for her?

    Her success and that of her congressional colleagues, Rashida Tlaib from Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, could be the first swallows that herald the coming of spring. This is the spring of freely expressing opinions about Israel in America. Cortez already asked this week why isn’t bigotry aimed at other groups condemned just like statements against Israel are.

    >> As an American-Israeli, I am thrilled for the Palestinians and for Rashida Tlaib | Opinion

    What, after all, has Omar said? That pro-Israel activists demand “allegiance to a foreign country”; that U.S. politicians support Israel because of money they receive from the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC, and that “Israel hypnotized the world.” What is incorrect in these statements? Why is describing reality considered anti-Semitic?

    Jews have immense power in the U.S., far beyond the relative size of their community, and the blind support given by their establishment to Israel raises legitimate questions regarding dual loyalty. Their power derives from their economic success, their organizational skills and the political pressure they exert. Omar dared to speak about this.
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    Just imagine what Israelis and Jews would feel if Muslim Americans had the same political, economic and cultural power Jews have. Such power, above all the intoxication with power that has seized hold of the Jewish establishment, comes with a price. Omar and her colleagues are trying to collect on it.

    Due to the Israel lobby, the U.S. does not know the truth about what is happening here. Congress members, senators and shapers of public opinion who are flown here ad nauseam see only Israeli victimhood and Palestinian terror, which apparently emerged out of nowhere. Islamists, Qassam rockets and incendiary balloons – not a word about occupation, expropriation, refugees and military tyranny. Questions such as where the money goes and whether it serves American interests are considered heresy. When talking about Israel one must not ask questions or raise doubts.

    This cycle has to be broken as well. It’s not right and it’s not good for the Jews. Omar is now trying to introduce a new discourse to Congress and to public opinion. Thanks to her and her colleagues there is a chance for a change in America. From Israel we send her our wishes for success.

    When will the world dare to distinguish between legitimate criticism of an illegitimate Israeli reality and anti-Semitism?

    • We Support You, Ilhan the Heroine

      Congresswoman Ilhan Omar thought she was living in a democratic country, and that she could report to the public about what she sees: how naive!
      Odeh Bisharat Feb 18, 2019 5:12 AM
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-we-support-you-ilhan-the-heroine-1.6941386

      Why attack Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who said that Congressional support for Israel has been bought by money from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, at a time when someone who is very familiar with the lobby attests to its tremendous power. On the online news publication The Intercept, journalist Mehdi Hassan describes a meeting between Steven Rosen, a former president of AIPAC, and journalist Jeffrey Goldberg in 2005. “You see this napkin?” asked Rosen. “In 24 hours, we could have the signatures of 70 senators on this napkin.”

      That’s corrupting power, which should cause any decent Jew to lose sleep. After all, we’re not talking about a poor country, to which policy can be dictated, whether by force or with money. We’re talking about the world’s biggest superpower. We’re also talking about 70 senators out of 100 – 70 percent of the Senate is in AIPAC’s pocket.

      So what would happen if the situation were reversed, and neo-Nazism, which according to U.S. President Donald Trump also includes good people, were to assume senior positions? Would the Jews then be blamed for all the ills of the United States?

      At the moment I feel for Congresswoman Ilhan, who thought she was living in a democratic country, and that she could report to the public about what she sees. We can assume that a few years ago Omar was able to observe Republican candidates knocking on the door of far-right mogul Sheldon Adelson, asking for his support – his monetary support, of course.

      I assume that Omar also noticed the strange phenomenon which, with the exception of Gideon Levy, almost nobody in Israel noticed: that all the senior members of the White House Middle East team are Jews, and not leftist, Peace Now Jews, God forbid, but right-wing, Habayit Hayehudi Jews. The poor Palestinians were unable to comment on that for fear of AIPAC, which is responsible for putting “anti-Semite” stickers on anyone who dares criticize Israel.

      Now President Trump is angry at Omar. “I think she should be ashamed of herself. I think it was a terrible statement,” he said. But Trump has apparently forgotten that on the eve of his election in 2015 he told the participants at a convention of the Republican Jewish Coalition: “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”

      Trump’s statement included the two most benighted elements that anti-Semites have attributed to Jews for hundreds of years: money and control. That statement, about which Chemi Shalev wrote at the time: “As though the Jews are incapable of supporting a candidate whom they can’t buy,” was met here by almost total silence. How do they say it in Arabic: “The blows of the beloved are like raisins.”

      Now Omar, after the witch hunt surrounding her, has retreated from her tweet. She will have to work hard to prove that she’s not anti-Semitic, and that what she sees is actually an illusion. The truth must be told: Her retreat is a mark of Cain on the forehead of reasonable Jews, both in Israel and the United States. After all, cleaning the stables of the ills of the Israeli right is mainly the job of reasonable Jews.

      Why impose that job on Omar? Why outsource the dirty work to the gentiles, instead of buckling down and taking action. And starting, for example, by sending tens of thousands of signatures on postcards saying: We support you, Ilhan the heroine.

      And if not, Ilhan will yet say to herself: Why do I need another headache? And retreat to her home. Whereas you, Jewish democrats, will continue to obey the orders of the insane alliance of the Israeli and American right, and continue to send your sons on terrible missions in the occupied territories. And if TV news anchor Oshrat Kotler says that it’s because of the occupation – you’ll stone her, instead of stoning the occupation. Only the occupation could produce such genius.