Congress should reject Ilhan Omar before she makes anti-Semitism acceptable

It is becoming more obvious by the day — even by the tweet-hour — that newly elected Congresswoman Omar is anti-Semitic and is peddling her anti-Israel and anti-Jewish stance through the well known and effective drip-by-drip method.  It is a strategy, as we have seen from Islamists in Europe, where an anti-Israel or anti-Jewish statement is made and then partially retracted after an uproar.  It is repeated multiple times, followed by multiple half-hearted retractions, with the goal and effect of a slow but inevitable seepage of anti-Jewish caricatures into the country's political discourse and into the minds of its people.

This successful strategy has poisoned Europe's discourse against Jews and Israel and is being imported here with the arrival into Congress of Ms. Omar and Ms. Rashida Tlaib.

The question today is, do the leaders of the U.S. Congress, and especially Ms. Pelosi, have the conviction and will to oust this never-ending shower of anti-Jewish rhetoric as they would if such was being said against other groups?  Will they permanently shut this down before it metastasizes? 

There is no question that Ms. Omar's playing-innocent type of apologies are done in such a manner as to momentarily quell the outcry against her remarks while assuring her base that she has not capitulated to the powers outside her community.  Her nonchalant use of anti-Semitic stereotypes and language is furthermore disturbing for reflecting her community's comfort with and approval of anti-Semitic ideas that most Americans deem beyond the pale. 

Omar should be censured and, beyond that, removed from the powerful and influential House Foreign Affairs Committee that Speaker Pelosi surprisingly granted to this first-year legislator.  Omar's thinking, her conduct, and her blithe willingness to inject anti-Semitic tropes into the legislative process make her unfit to hold such a strategic position. 

She and Ms. Tlaib have come to Congress with unprecedented brazenness, defiance, and impropriety that go beyond mere difference of opinion.  Right out of the gate, both women have overridden expected norms and decency as single-minded propagandists eager to use their presence and committee positions as platforms to propagandize against Israel, and Jews who support Israel, by making the heretofore unacceptable now acceptable. 

No one should be afraid to censure and remove Ms. Omar from the committee on behalf of stopping the drip-by-drip plot to sully Israel and the Jewish people, nor be afraid of being labeled "anti-woman" or "racist" or "Islamophobic."  Omar's defenders and organizations here, such as CAIR, will label her censure indicative of the "power of the Zionists," but what it will in fact be is the power of justice and the American way.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero is author of Push Back, president of Caucus for America, and spokesman for National Conference of Jewish Affairs.

Image: Leopaltik1242 via Wikimedia Commons.

It is becoming more obvious by the day — even by the tweet-hour — that newly elected Congresswoman Omar is anti-Semitic and is peddling her anti-Israel and anti-Jewish stance through the well known and effective drip-by-drip method.  It is a strategy, as we have seen from Islamists in Europe, where an anti-Israel or anti-Jewish statement is made and then partially retracted after an uproar.  It is repeated multiple times, followed by multiple half-hearted retractions, with the goal and effect of a slow but inevitable seepage of anti-Jewish caricatures into the country's political discourse and into the minds of its people.

This successful strategy has poisoned Europe's discourse against Jews and Israel and is being imported here with the arrival into Congress of Ms. Omar and Ms. Rashida Tlaib.

The question today is, do the leaders of the U.S. Congress, and especially Ms. Pelosi, have the conviction and will to oust this never-ending shower of anti-Jewish rhetoric as they would if such was being said against other groups?  Will they permanently shut this down before it metastasizes? 

There is no question that Ms. Omar's playing-innocent type of apologies are done in such a manner as to momentarily quell the outcry against her remarks while assuring her base that she has not capitulated to the powers outside her community.  Her nonchalant use of anti-Semitic stereotypes and language is furthermore disturbing for reflecting her community's comfort with and approval of anti-Semitic ideas that most Americans deem beyond the pale. 

Omar should be censured and, beyond that, removed from the powerful and influential House Foreign Affairs Committee that Speaker Pelosi surprisingly granted to this first-year legislator.  Omar's thinking, her conduct, and her blithe willingness to inject anti-Semitic tropes into the legislative process make her unfit to hold such a strategic position. 

She and Ms. Tlaib have come to Congress with unprecedented brazenness, defiance, and impropriety that go beyond mere difference of opinion.  Right out of the gate, both women have overridden expected norms and decency as single-minded propagandists eager to use their presence and committee positions as platforms to propagandize against Israel, and Jews who support Israel, by making the heretofore unacceptable now acceptable. 

No one should be afraid to censure and remove Ms. Omar from the committee on behalf of stopping the drip-by-drip plot to sully Israel and the Jewish people, nor be afraid of being labeled "anti-woman" or "racist" or "Islamophobic."  Omar's defenders and organizations here, such as CAIR, will label her censure indicative of the "power of the Zionists," but what it will in fact be is the power of justice and the American way.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero is author of Push Back, president of Caucus for America, and spokesman for National Conference of Jewish Affairs.

Image: Leopaltik1242 via Wikimedia Commons.