Pelosi endorses Omar
As if we needed any more evidence of the Democratic Party's capitulation to the anti-Israel left, House speaker Nancy Pelosi has endorsed for re-election the notorious anti-Semite and Israel-hater Rep. Ilhan Omar, rejecting Omar's four challengers, including Antone Melton-Meaux, a popular black pro-Israel progressive.
Minnesota's 5th district, one of the safest Democratic seats in the country, is holding its primary on August 11. "Ilhan is a valued and important member of our Caucus," said Pelosi in her endorsement statement. "In her first term, Ilhan has already established herself as a leader on a host of issues — from child nutrition to housing to U.S.-Africa relations."
This is the Ilhan Omar whose slurs about Jewish dual loyalty and money buying influence ("It's all about the Benjamins, baby.") were ranked among the top ten anti-Semitic incidents of 2019 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
In March 2019, in response to the uproar, even in her own party, about Omar's hateful comments, Pelosi passed a watered down, non-binding House resolution condemning anti-Semitism and Islamophobia but failing to call out Omar by name. And she kept Omar on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, attributing the congresswoman's Jew-hatred to a "language problem."
Since taking office in 2019, Omar has become the leading critic of Israel in the Congress. In July of that year, she proposed resolution H.R. 496, asserting Americans' right to participate in boycotts both at home and abroad. This move to support the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) would challenge existing anti-boycott legislation at the federal and state levels. Omar argued that boycotting Israel is as justifiable as was boycotting the Nazis. She criticized the president for imposing economic sanctions on Iran, Israel's existential enemy, and slammed President Trump's Middle East peace plan as "shameful and disingenuous." She has become part of a growing cadre of young Democratic progressives working quite successfully to turn the party against the Jewish state. Just recently pro-Israel stalwart Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who headed the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, lost in the Democratic primary to Jamaal Bowman, who shares Omar's opinion that foreign aid to Israel should be restricted.
Antone Melton-Meaux, Omar's most popular challenger, is a 47-year-old attorney who insists that you can be both progressive and pro-Israel. He rejects anti-Semitism and criticizes the Muslim congresswoman for her "harmful tropes" about the Jewish community. He accuses her of ignoring her Jewish constituents. In an interview with the Jewish News Syndicate, Melton-Meaux commented, "[Omar] lost the trust of many in the Jewish community, and that's very unfortunate[.] ... To the extent that I can be a useful partner on the issue of U.S.-Israel [relations], especially on issues of anti-Semitism or other race issues, I am proud to be a part of that."
Melton-Meaux has amassed six times the money that Omar has raised. Despite being the incumbent in the race, Omar's donor list doesn't include many well known Minnesotans who usually give big to Democratic candidates in statewide and congressional races. Rather, it is Melton-Meaux who has attracted financial support from prominent local politicians and businesses, pro-Israel bipartisan PACs, and even some Wall Streeters. Clearly, he's the obvious candidate to replace Omar for anyone who cares about anti-Semitism and Israel.
It is no surprise that Sen. Bernie Sanders, long an advocate for the Palestinians against the Jewish state, echoed Pelosi's enthusiasm when he recently endorsed Omar, describing her as "a woman of incredible strength and dignity," adding, "We need Ilhan's leadership in the Congress. We need her voice speaking out for justice." Justice? Well, not for Israel.
Ilhan Omar has a problem with American Jews, whom she libels with well recognized anti-Semitic tropes. She also has a problem with Israel — the only country in its region that embraces the values the Democratic Party claims to champion. She accuses the Jewish state of "hypnotizing the world" and supports the campaign to eliminate it.
But Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't have a problem with Ilhan Omar. She had the power to get rid of Omar in the same way the Republicans got rid of Steve King (R-Iowa) for his racist and sexist remarks. Instead, she did the opposite. Why? This shrewd politician raised a finger to see which way the wind is blowing in her party...and it's not with Israel.
Ziva Dahl is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center.