Op Ed: Anti-Israel ≠ Anti-Semitism

In the midst of rising anti-Semitism across the nation, well meaning liberals and conservatives alike have been quick to label those who oppose the regime in Israel as anti-Semitic. The most recent and public example of this assassination of character comes from the attack on freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) by the media and politicians. Omar was accused of anti-semitism because of her response, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” to a tweet about the Republican house minority leader threatening to punish Omar for her support of Palestine. Omar apologized for her comments, but stayed firm in her opposition to AIPAC lobbyists, at whom the tweet was directed at. Even though her opposition was against a political lobbying group for a foreign state, her comments still drew harsh criticism from both sides of the aisle.

Republicans are in no position to call Omar, a Somali-American immigrant, anti-Semitic when they have turned their party into a haven for xenophobia and outright racism. For example, Trump initially refused to condemn the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Iowa Rep. Steve King, who is obsessed with preventing “multiculturalism.” Republican hypocrisy proves that they could care less about Omar’s comments about Jewish people. Republicans real concern is the continued support Israel gets from AIPAC lobbyists. Republicans have continued to show they do not care about things like PC culture or oppressed minorities and have continued to amplify the voices of the “alt-right” who have proved consistently that they are actually white supremacists in disguise. That is why we can’t trust these voices when they accuse an immigrant woman from one of the countries listed in Trump’s Muslim ban of anti-Semitism.

Middle-left Democrats have not been discrete in their unwavering support for the Israeli regime. Some further left Democrats in Congress like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have advocated for a two-state solution and relief for Palestinian victims. However, unlike Sanders, Omar is a woman, a freshman representative, an immigrant, and a Muslim. The attacks against her in the media and on Twitter have been peddled by mostly non-Jewish, white journalists. It’s easier for political figures to label Omar as anti-Semitic than it is to have a genuine conversation about policy. Democrats need to take a step back from infighting to collect themselves and figure out where they stand as a party. Will they give in to the cries from the right to assassinate one of their own vulnerable members in the media or will they stand together in these decisive times to fight for something that matters?


Ilhan Omar hypes up the crowd at a rally.


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