Oh the misogyny! Oh the Islamophobia! Oh the racism! The Republican party has hit the trifecta of ignorance. A party rife with anti-Semites and anti-Semitism has the chutzpah to tell the American people that they’re expelling Rep. Ilan Omar from the House foreign affairs committee because she’s an anti-Semite? Oh and did I mention they accused her of being a terrorist? Tried to tie her to the 9/11 attacks?
Speaking of anti-Semites: their own leader and current Speaker, Kevin McCarthy accused three Jewish financiers of “buying the election.”
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy posted this tweet AFTER a bomb was sent to Soros’ house. Up until a couple of minutes ago it was pinned to the top of his profile. pic.twitter.com/FEeKoPolHL
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 24, 2018
When they have a member calling George Soros “a supposed Jew,” because he is insufficiently pro-Israel.
Appearing on Fox Biz, Louie Gohmert says “George Soros is supposed to be Jewish but you wouldn’t know it from the damage he inflicted on Israel and the fact that he turned on fellow Jews & helped take the property that they owned.”
Stuart Varney quickly moves on pic.twitter.com/P4KUjOVnKb
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 6, 2018
Or how about Rep. Matt Gaetz inviting a Holocaust denier to the State of the Union, then denying he is a Holocaust-denier?
Rep. Paul Gosar claimed George Soros funded the Charlottesville white supremacist rally and added the canard that he betrayed Jews during the Holocaust.
When Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene claims a cabal of Richard Blum (Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband) and the Rothschilds caused one of California’s most devastating fires? Oh and by the way, now when AOC denounces her for it (see video), she denies she said it and denies knowing anything about space lasers. That’s not the only thing she knows nothing about. In fact, she ends her incoherent rant below with “but what do I know?” Indeed.
When an American president calls Jews “you people;” and tells those who refuse to vote for him despite his support for Israel, they’re being disloyal to Israel.
But Democrats don’t come away unscathed either. Their hypocrisy was on full display as well. In the past, pro-Israel Democrats excoriated Omar for her legitimate criticism of Israel’s abysmal human rights record and for her support for Paiestinian rights. When her own Party is prepared to throw her to the GOP wolves, why would you be surprised when the wolves give you a taste of your own medicine?
GOP: Party of Islamophobia, Misogyny and Racism
A Party rife with anti-Semites has no right to be the arbiter of anti-Semitism. In fact, Republicans don’t care a whit about it. They know there are only a handful of Jews who vote Republican. The only Jews they care about are billionaires of the Republican Jewish Coalition who fund their candidates.
Ilhan Omar has done or said nothing that is anti-Semitic. Even the comments for which she apologized, were not. She did criticize Israel. She did say that the money of some wealthy American Jews stifles views criticsm of Israel. She did say the Israel Lobby exercises power over speech concerning Israel. She said all those things. And not a single one of them is anti-Semitic.
And if you want to get your knickers in a knot about references to “Benjamins,” she correctly noted that pro-Israel money funds political campaigns to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
In the last primary season, Aipac-affiliated PACs donated $30-million to defeat candidates (some Jewish) deemed critical of Israel. That’s a single primary campaign season. And only targeting candidates of a single Party! So I could care less whether Omar called them Benjamins ($100), Lincolns ($5),Grants ($50) or even Wilsons ($100,000). It’s all money. And pro-Israel billionaires shower it on pro-Israel candidates of both Parties. If I can say it, she can say it.
Gone are the days when Aipac tells members of Congress: Jump! And they say: “How high?” Gone are the days when they can prove how loyal their poodles are when they tell them to vote for a ham sandwich. Rememeber this story from the inimitable Steve Rosen, Aipac’s capo di tutti?
A half smile appeared on his face, and he pushed a napkin across the table. “You see this napkin?” he said. “In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”
You can’t police speech. Sure you can try. You can spend tens of millions creating a network of pro-Israel propaganda outfits filled with enforcers who try to bully dissenters into submission. But they enjoy less and less power to intimidate. People fight back. They win victories.
Just ask Alexandria Ocasio Cortez: the Lobby and their GOP pals put up good money to beat her in the last election. It didn’t work. If she decides to run for higher office they’ll spend unlimited amounts of cash to beat her…at all costs. If that’s not Benjamins, I don’t know what is.
Listen to that one minute clip of her speech denouncing Republicans in a tone to make Jeremiah qvell. Thundering against their hypocrisy. Thundering against their misogyny (let’s not forgoet those death threats). Thundering against their evil. That’s something we should be proud of; and the Lobby should be afraid of.
GOP: Bottom Line
But let’s get real. This little game had nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Omar herself was a foil for GOP pique over the expulsion of their own members from House committees during the Trump era. It was a plain tit-for-tat spat. You hurt mine, I’ll hurt yours. The difference of course is that those Republicans expelled had committed serious infractions including supporting QAnon and insurrection and threatening to murder a fellow member (AOC herself).
Omar was targeted because she was “low-hanging fruit.” She was Muslim, Black and a woman. All those made her a target for racist Republicans. But even some who voted for her outster thought the vote was just plain dumb:
Two disillusioned House Republicans unloaded on their vengeful leadership for inadvertently making a hero out of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar by publicly stripping her of a high-profile committee assignment in what one deemed the “stupidest vote in the world.”
…As they rode the elevator away from the House floor…Foreign Affairs Committee GOP member Ken Buck and Republican Rep. Mike Simpson…decided it was a boneheaded move.
After Buck decreed it the “stupidest” political move, Simpson said the expulsion would probably make the Minnesota Democrat into a “martyr.”
Well, I wouldn’t say martyr, because she isn’t dead. But hero? You bet. It increases Omar’s stature nationally. If you didn’t know who she was before, you’ll sure know now. At least if you have any interest in national politics. Now instead of being merely a lightning rod for GOP hate, she’ll be a hero in the Party. Raising money like it’s going out of style. Hakeem Jeffries and the so-called New Democrats (there’s nothing “new” about mealy-mouthed centrist Democrats) won’t like it because it offers progressives another charismatic figure in the House. And there’s nothing a machine-politicians like Jeffries hates more than a powerful progressive. He spits three times every time he hears the words “democratic socialism.”
H/t to Little Bird for the Rosen story.