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The fear in Nancy Pelosi’s eyes is what I’ll always remember about the Ilhan Omar Affair
Nancy Pelosi doesn’t turn away from a fight, but turned away from a fight with Omar. That tells you how serious the situation is.
The repeated antisemitic comments from Democrat Representative Ilhan Omar, while condemnable, are all too familiar to those of us who have closely followed the anti-Israel movement.
Charges of dual loyalty or disloyalty lodged against Jews predate the creation of the State of Israel by many centuries. Those charges are a core accusation of the oldest hate.
The dual and disloyalty cards are prominent features of the current anti-Israel movement, including by anti-Zionist leftist Jews. The nefarious “Israel Lobby” has been a prominent theme, as has the term “Israel Firster.” So when Omar makes similar accusations, consider me not the least bit surprised.
Yet the Omar comments and the Democrat and media reactions have shaken the mainstream mostly-liberal Jewish community, which still overwhelmingly supports Israel.
There have been some very good takes on the Omar Affair, and its impact. Here are three good takes, among dozens:
Russ Douthat — This is what the left seems to want in the Omar controversy, and what I suspect it will eventually get: a left-of-center politics that remembers the Holocaust as one great historical tragedy among many, that judges Israel primarily on its conservative and nationalist political orientation, rather than on its status as a Jewish sanctuary, and that regards the success of American Jews as a reason for them to join white Gentiles in check-your-privilege self-criticism, ceding moral authority to minority groups who are more immediately oppressed. (This last shift was helpfully distilled by James Clyburn, the Democratic House whip, who defended Omar last week by basically saying that the Holocaust was a long time ago and her personal experience as a refugee and Muslim immigrant was more immediate and relevant.)
Michael Walzer — … Omar is entitled to her falsehoods; it is, as we say, a free country. But the falsehoods have to be given their proper name. If Jewish Democrats don’t get tough about this, they will soon find themselves unable to be tough about anything. They will be pushed out of the Democratic Party just as Jews are being pushed out of the Labour Party in the U.K. Long ago, August Bebel gave a name to left-wing anti-Semitism: “the socialism of fools.” Now the fools are in Congress.
Roger Simon — Now we are living in another world of rising anti-Semitism, which some, for their own convenience or perhaps a misbegotten nostalgia, like to ascribe equally or even disproportionally to the right, when it is clear the new anti-Semitism, from our college campuses to the streets of Paris, is coming largely from Islamic terrorists and their sympathizers augmented and multiplied by the left. It is further enhanced by social and ethnic groups enraged — with the encouragement of the Democratic Party — by identity politics. In the world of intersectionality, someone must be the low man or woman on the totem pole of blame and evil.
It was a shock to the faith that it can’t happen here to watch the toughest Democratic Party politicians run scared of the anti-Israel far-left base of the party employing centuries-old antisemitic tropes.
The focus on antisemitism, which sparked the need for a House resolution, ended up buried in an avalanche of criticisms of numerous other hates in order to appease the intersectional left and to protect Omar.
I’m no fan of Nancy Pelosi, as anyone who has read my writings for the past decade would know. But whatever else she was or is, she’s tough and takes no prisoners. Except when it came to Ilhan Omar.
For me, I keep coming back to watching the fear in Pelosi’s eyes as she tried to explain away Omar’s words as being the product of someone who didn’t know what she was saying, as if Omar were a child.
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