The closest a Washington Post columnist can get to calling out Ilhan Omar
In "Let's stay united against bigotry," E.J Dionne, Jr. inadvertently identifies the real yet diluted interpretation of Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)'s recent bigoted rant. While most Democrats tried to portray Omar as the victim of the scandal for criticizing Israeli policy, Dionne accurately states that "Omar spoke of people who 'push for allegiance to a foreign country.'" In other words, the actual target of her remarks was the Jewish people.
No amount of political spin, Israel-hating, or intersectionality will change that. Omar's recent statement, like her previous hateful remarks, was about Jews. Shame on Democrats in Congress for succumbing to the pressure to leave Omar uncensured. Her rhetoric perpetuates an abhorrently long trend of anti-Semitism.
Dionne further states that Omar's "personal history ought to mean that she understands the dangers of prejudice better than most." Dionne's excuse for her is that she was "careless." Never mind how many times she has been careless. By saying Omar is "careless" and that she ought to know better, is Dionne saying she is not smart enough to know right from wrong?
Dionne claims that "anti-Semitism is utterly antithetical to anything that deserves to be called liberal or progressive." Well, I guess not...the proof is in the pudding!
Dionne then goes into a personal vignette of why he opposes anti-Semitism. His first friends were Jewish, his informal second father after his own passed away was Jewish, and he spent a month in Israel.
If I had a dollar for every time an anti-Israel aspersion began with "some of my best friends are Jewish" or the like, I would be a wealthy man.
Dionne begins his exposition with the comment that he favors a two-state solution. But how can that happen when there are two Palestinian constituencies — one in Gaza and the other in the West Bank — that refuse to reach a solution with each other? Does he mean a three-state solution? Have the Palestinians shown any democratic nature that makes them qualified to be a hospitable neighbor to Israel or even other Arabs? Gaza has held only one election, and that was for the terrorist group Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas has held office in the West Bank for over ten years longer than his four-year term.
With all of Dionne's exposure to Jews and Israel, he doesn't recognize this basic point.
Then he wrongly claims that Gaza is occupied by Israel. There is not a single Israeli in Gaza, and both Egypt and Israel monitor its borders for terrorists building weaponry or tunnel paraphernalia. West Bank Arabs live under Abbas's control.
Yes, it is a difficult situation, and the Palestinians need a better life. A solution is welcome by Israel. What is Dionne's explanation for why the Palestinians turned down numerous offers for a state of their own without making a counter-offer? He does not say. Is it because the Palestinians don't want an end to the conflict unless it includes the destruction of Israel? Of course, but Dionne is putting his head in the sand instead of seeing that fact. Palestinian TV describes Israeli cities as Palestinian, the Palestinians name their squares and high schools after suicide bombers, their emblem consists of the entire state of Israel, and their chief sticking point in negotiations with Israel has been with a so-called "right of return," which would flood Israel with enough Arabs to make it another Arab country. I could go on and on.
What would an article from a regular Washington post contributor about Jews be without a line bashing Israel, especially right-wing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu? For the record, it was President Obama who undermined Netanyahu by financing election campaigns to unseat him. But going back to the basis of Omar's comments, they were about Jews, not Israel. There was no need for Dionne to mention Israel in his column.
Rightfully, and to his credit, Dionne concludes that Omar's language "cannot help but be seen as anti-Semitic." It would be welcome if he, and other progressives, would continue to call out anti-Semitism, take the lead in opposing the practice, and thereby prove that anti-Semitism is antithetical to the progressive movement.