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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Laid Into Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Leadership After They Condemned Ilhan Omar's Israel Comments
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=47709"><span class="small">Eliza Relman, Business Insider</span></a>   
Wednesday, 06 March 2019 09:17

Relman writes: "Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday laid into Democrats and Republicans who've condemned freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar of making comments perceived by many as anti-Semitic."

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. (photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Images)
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. (photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

ALSO SEE: House Dems Postpone Vote Rebuking Omar Amid Pressure From Left

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Laid Into Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Leadership After They Condemned Ilhan Omar's Israel Comments

By Eliza Relman, Business Insider

06 March 19


ep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday laid into Democrats and Republicans who've condemned freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar of making comments perceived by many as anti-Semitic.

Democratic leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is expected to put a resolution opposing anti-Semitism up for a vote in the House this week, after Omar in a tweet over the weekend accused pro-Israel lawmakers of pushing "for allegiance to a foreign country."

Ocasio-Cortez didn't defend Omar's comment but argued in a series of tweets that the fierce backlash the Minnesota Democrat is facing revealed a double standard in Congress' response to different forms of bigotry.

She added that Omar, who is Muslim and a Somali-American immigrant, "has demonstrated a willingness to listen+work w/impacted communities" and shouldn't be subjected to the "nuclear option" of a formal condemnation.

"One of the things that is hurtful about the extent to which reprimand is sought of Ilhan is that no one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx + other communities (during the shutdown, a GOP member yelled 'Go back to Puerto Rico!' on the floor)," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

She said that lawmakers were often given a pass for misogynistic, racist, or anti-LGBTQ comments and that congressional leaders should be clear about what behavior merits formal condemnation.

"It's not my position to tell people how to feel, or that their hurt is invalid," Ocasio-Cortez said. "But incidents like these do beg the question: where are the resolutions against homophobic statements? For anti-blackness? For xenophobia? For a member saying he'll 'send Obama home to Kenya?'"

On Monday, Republican Rep. Steve King, who was stripped of his House committee seats in January following a controversial New York Times interview and renewed scrutiny over his many racist statements, promoted a white nationalist on Twitter. On Sunday, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan referred to the Democratic megadonor Tom Steyer as "$teyer" in a tweet, which some have also condemned as anti-Semitic, as Steyer's father was Jewish.

Ocasio-Cortez also argued that Omar's critics were attempting to silence voices that oppose Israeli government policy and are critical of US policy in the Middle East.

"I remember a time when it was 'unacceptable' to question the Iraq War," she tweeted, later clarifying that she meant to say the war in Afghanistan. "All of Congress was wrong, including both GOP & Dem Party, and led my generation into a disastrous + wrong war that virtually all would come to regret, except for the one member who stood up: Barbara Lee."

Omar supports the movement to boycott Israel and has been critical of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. She has also been vocal in her opposition to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington that nearly always aligns with the Israeli government.

Last month, Democratic leaders in the House condemned another tweet in which Omar argued that pro-Israel American lawmakers were influenced by donations from groups like AIPAC. Omar apologized amid the intense backlash.

The Minnesota Democrat also faced criticism for saying in a tweet in November 2012, during the Israeli military campaign against Hamas, that "Israel has hypnotized the world."

Islamophobic attacks

Omar has also been a victim of bigoted attacks recently.

Last Friday, the West Virginia Republican Party displayed a poster linking Omar with the 9/11 terrorist attacks during an event at the statehouse. The poster featured an image of the twin towers in flames with the words "'Never Forget' — you said.." above an image of Omar with the words "I am the proof — you have forgotten."

The state Republican Party said in a statement that it never approved of or saw the poster before it was displayed and that it had it removed after learning of its existence.

Ocasio-Cortez said she was "heartbroken" that the state party didn't receive more criticism for the incident.

"Those who stood up against anti-Semitism a few weeks ago should also be calling out the Islamophobia here, too," she tweeted.

Omar, who, along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, is the first Muslim congresswoman, described it as one of many instances of Islamophobia she has faced.

"No wonder why I am on the 'Hitlist' of a domestic terrorist and 'Assassinate Ilhan Omar' is written on my local gas stations," she tweeted. "Look no further, the GOP's anti-Muslim display likening me to a terrorist rocks in state capitols and no one is condemning them!"

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+81 # chrisconno 2019-03-06 10:28
She's right. Our nation as a whole is so hypocritical. We claim that we are fighting for freedom every time we bomb another country when our actions have nothing to do with freedom. More like making $billions. Our republicans claim to be 'pro life' yet support all the money making wars, capitol punishment and child caging, among too many other underhanded policies of racism. Omar is just speaking truth to power. I also don't happen to like Israel's policies of stealing homes and properties from Palestinians while also depriving them of jobs, education and too often water.
+56 # engelbach 2019-03-06 10:36
It's absurd. There is nothing anti-semitic about criticizing the Israeli government.

Omar expressed support for the Palestinian people against the apartheid policies of that government.

Her comment about AIPAC referred to the money its front groups have contributed to that government. It was a statement of fact.

Pelosi and company are behaving as the cowardly conservatives that they are.
+49 # macrhino 2019-03-06 10:46
She is right. Criticism of Israel is not the same as anti-semitism. I, as someone how lived in Israel can not believe how ignorant the US is about actions taken with the implicit support of the US.

Seeing the IDF tie an 8 year old kid to the hood of their jeep as a human shield is NOT an action I back as an American. Yet I have sen it. I have yet to see the Palestinians using Jewish kids as shields.
-39 # Salburger 2019-03-06 11:19
No, they aren't criticizing her for her "Israel Comments"--it was her charging supporters of Israel with disloyalty to the US, which smacks of a classic Jew hater claim that Jews are only loyal to each other and not to the countries they live in.
+12 # Texas Aggie 2019-03-06 15:01
They were calling her an antisemite long before she made the comment about dual loyalties. You knew that, didn't you?
+16 # randrjwr 2019-03-06 15:25
Quoting Salburger:
No, they aren't criticizing her for her "Israel Comments"--it was her charging supporters of Israel with disloyalty to the US, which smacks of a classic Jew hater claim that Jews are only loyal to each other and not to the countries they live in.

And their criticisms smack of classic Muslim-hater language. Our seemingly limitless support of the State of Israel in spite spite of its inhuman treatment of the Palestinians is NOT, in the long run, in our best interests. I find myself wondering just where their loyalties lie.
-5 # Salburger 2019-03-07 06:18
How do you get that from their criticism of what she said about foreign loyalties?
+45 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-03-06 11:19
Ilhan Omar, Alexandria O.C. and the new Progressive women in Congress are our only hope for wresting control of the MIC government to becoming "our government" once again. More power to them.
+1 # Salburger 2019-03-07 06:20
What is "the MIC government" Pablo?
+2 # mebemo 2019-03-07 12:17
Military Industrial Complex.
+1 # librarian1984 2019-03-08 07:21
And MIIC is 'military-indus trial-intellige nce complex'.
+50 # dlet60 2019-03-06 11:44
I agree with both of these women and I am a 76 year old white male veteran. Hypocrites abound in both parties and throughout the US of A. Israel is the tail that wags the dog, the US.
+34 # margpark 2019-03-06 12:42
It really is very difficult to criticise the government of Israel in many places and many sites without being accused of antisemitism. And antisemitism is absolutely not criticising the Israel government which is a government not a synagog or an individual or group of individuals. Antisemitism is bad but the government of Israel is open to criticism.
+28 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-06 12:59
This seems like a case of no one daring to mention the elephant in the room. It is simply a fact that Israel exerts a totally wrong influence on the US government, both congress and the executive branch. This is a true crisis. But almost no one will mention it. Omar is courageous to mention it.

Omar is also correct about disloyalty of some Israel supporters. Many of the neo-cons hold dual US and Israeli citizenship and yet they hold high positions in the US government. I think dual citizenship should disqualify anyone from a high level government job, no matter what the other country is.

Israel is now working to drag the US into a war against Iran. Israel was a large factor in Obama's war against Syria. The US has killed millions of Muslims on behalf of Israel. The US is now hated by many Muslims for its actions on behalf of Israel. When will this stop?

I totally support Omar and AOC. I hope the continue to stand up to Israel. The truth is also that most American Jews hold the same views. Israel is not "the Jewish state." Is is a fascist state. People like Netanyahoo are not religious people. They don't worship god. They worship the state and the power the state gives them.
+9 # randrjwr 2019-03-06 15:28
Quoting: " I think dual citizenship should disqualify anyone from a high level government job, no matter what the other country is. "

-8 # Salburger 2019-03-07 06:22
but saying Jewish Americans are loyal to Israel isn't criticizing Israel, it is engaging in Antisemitism
-3 # Salburger 2019-03-07 06:25
Nobody with high level government jobs has dual US and Israeli citizenship--th is is an Antisemitic myth and RR outs himself here as an Antisemite.
-3 # rxfxworld 2019-03-09 18:27
A man who calls himself by the name of a (fictional)murd erer who was created by a fervent Jew hater, dares to speak out in anti-Semitic tropes. Rodion--it's a Russian name, no? Who has the dual loyalty here? Is it this little fox who climbs in with the chickens? Oh, yes. Rodion, please give Vlad my best disrespects!
+13 # maindrains 2019-03-06 13:53
It is so refreshing to hear someone call out charges of anti semitism for what they often are; attempts to shut down criticism of Israel and its awful policies toward the Palestinians. Charging someone with anti semitism has become the kiss of death especially when levelled against well known people.. This has happened to jeremy Corbyn and the Labor party in the UK.. whenever they seem to be in reach of power all the anti semitism charges renew .. just because he has sympathised with the Palestinian cause.Supposedl y "anti semitic" attacks are increasing but because no-one dares ask what exactly was said or done we don't really know.. is criticism of Israel being counted as anti semitism.. I think so.I hope these two women stick to their guns and bring this whole issue out into the open. Well done!!!
+14 # Texas Aggie 2019-03-06 15:11
Regarding the comment about dual loyalties, in America you are allowed to be a dual citizen if you first were the citizen of some other country like Mexico, Canada, etc. But as I understand it, if you are first an American citizen and you take out citizenship in another country, you automatically lose your US citizenship.

I have been told that this particular law makes an exception for American citizens who take out Israeli citizenship and only Israeli citizenship. This strongly suggests that Ms. Omar hit it right on the head with her comment, and her comment was definitely NOT antisemitic but rather a statement of fact.
-6 # Salburger 2019-03-07 06:26
You have been told--and you believe everything you hear?
+9 # lfeuille 2019-03-06 21:49
Omar was right from the beginning. In my opinion she shouldn't have apologized. The fact is that AIPAC does promote loyalty to a foreign country and Congress is influenced by all the money they throw around. They are the ones who are acting out the stereotype. Omar only called them on it.
+7 # librarian1984 2019-03-07 08:56
Further evidence of the weaponization of political correctness by corporate media and the establishment.

It is not anti-semitic to criticize the actions of the Israeli government. Indeed, their unique status in this regard is a huge red flag. And btw, Palestinians are also a semitic people, so who is more anti-semitic than the Israeli government -- operating an open air prison, constantly encroaching on agreed-upon territories and committing genocide openly and with stupefying unselfconscious ness about its parallel to their own recent history.

Congress members took 1400 paid trips to Israel in the last five years, 2500 to all other countries combined -- while fewer than 1% visited Palestine. Those propagandist trips were led by representatives of AIPAC, a generous contributor to cooperative members and a powerful enemy to non-collaborato rs. As usual, follow the money.
+3 # randrjwr 2019-03-07 18:29
And never do we see the US Government or the "news" media criticize the Israeli government for its actions or the actions of its army, which include snipers shooting children, medical responders and even a woman carrying a baby. Nor does the Israeli government apologize for any of their atrocities.
+5 # librarian1984 2019-03-08 07:19
The establishment's misstep has resulted in extended scrutiny, something clearly needed.

For years we've been bombarded with scary stories about Russian influence in US politics, where thousands of dollars have been inflated into election-changi ng conspiracies, while pols and media programmaticall y ignore the outsized influence of Israel.

Russian oligarchs don't donate millions in US campaign contributions, while AIPAC and its chain of obfuscatory PACs has bought the cooperation of Republicans and Democrats alike for decades.

Russia doesn't hold a conference where US politicians, including presidential candidates, come to grovel. (Sanders was the only candidate not to do so during the 2016 campaign.)

I criticize Reagan or Obama without being called anti-American, and I should be able to criticize the actions and influence of Israel without being called antisemitic, which is bullshit, especially when pugilistic Israeli policy has led us into disastrous Middle Eastern wars where US soldiers have died.

I remember our surprise when we discovered no one was keeping statistics on how many civilians were killed by the police; the same seems to be true of pols' dual US-Israeli citizenship (and how outlawing BDS became a Congressional priority), but here's one reputable article that talks about the issue:

This issue demands sunlight, and at last it's getting some.
+2 # madresabia 2019-03-09 13:48
I have only one word: GREAT!
-1 # rxfxworld 2019-03-09 18:37
I read your link. The article mentions only Michelle Bachmann Who held Swiss citizenship and Ted Cruz who only gave up his Canadian citizenship recently. Unless you or the article's author can name someone in Congress who actually holds both US and Israeli citizenship, I'd have to class your comments as bullshit but inasmuch as contributing to the canard of dual loyalty for Jews, as classically anti-Semitic. As you write otherwise reasonably I'd suggest you look into your heart to get the Jew hatred out of it.
-1 # rxfxworld 2019-03-09 18:52
@ Librarian: A follow-up to your link to "Counterpunch". The following is direct quote from Wikipedia: During the 2016 presidential election, CounterPunch published the writings of Alice Donovan who purported to be a freelance writer but was in fact a pseudonymous employee of the Russian government.[12] Donovan was tracked by the FBI for nine months.[12] According to The Washington Post, "she seemed to be doing the Kremlin’s bidding by stoking discontent toward Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and touting WikiLeaks, which U.S. officials say was a tool of Russia’s broad influence operation to affect the presidential race."[12] In late November 2017, The Washington Post contacted CounterPunch about Donovan; co-editor Jeffrey St. Clair said that Donovan's pitches did not stand out amongst the pitches that CounterPunch received daily.[12
0 # rxfxworld 2019-03-09 18:57
@Librarian 1984--FYI While you and I probably agree about Bernie Sanders and his place in US politics, Jeffrey St Clair, editor of Counterpunch wrote a snarky takedown, calling him cranky and vindictive (without evidence for the latter) and a man who leads back to a mythic past.
+3 # DongiC 2019-03-08 14:28
Our Congressmen are pis*ed about the illumination that Omar brings so naturally they blame her for the misdeeds. It is always better to shoot the messenger who brings the bad news than the one who causes the bad news to happen. So it all goes.
+1 # madresabia 2019-03-09 13:45
Hey, why not require Congress to swear allegiance to England, to Italy, to Switzerland, to Belgium, to Cote d'Ivoire, to Albania, to Greece, et al., and why not require Congress to not boycott these countries' products? What's the difference?
+3 # maindrains 2019-03-09 15:57
Israeli elections happen on April 9th.. Netanyahu fighting to continue the premiership is allying himself with a far right fascist party that even AIPAC has objected to.. also Netanyahu is being indited for fraud, bribery etc,,,, any news covererage? Not here!! I suspect that any negative news of the great Israeli Democracy will be considered "anti semitic" so the media wont go there.
-1 # rxfxworld 2019-03-10 05:08
While pondering the anti-Semitism of accusing Jews of dual loyalty which Ms. Omar does it occurs to me that she can be accused as a Somali-American of putting the interests of Muslims above that of the United States in its support of Israel. Dual loyalties are a two-edged accusation. Does that make my comment Anti-Muslim?