Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar is facing scrutiny again for her latest comments regarding Israel. The freshman Democrat has stated she should not have to “pledge allegiance” or support to Israel in order to serve in Congress.
Fellow Democratic lawmaker Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) last week chastised Omar over her recent remarks about the influence of pro-Israel groups on politicians in Washington. Israel is literally the conduit dividing Democrats in Congress. Young and old. Reps. Nita M. Lowey, Jerrold Nadler and Eliot L. Engel, who are lead major House committees, and Jewish are now challenging Rep. Ilhan Omar and the progressive group- IfNotNow a movement led by young Jews to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
“Our generation refuses to ignore the shameful role the out-of-touch leaders in our community have played in elevating the attack on Ilhan,” IfNotNow said in a statement, adding, “Instead of combating the most severe dangers against Jews and all marginalized people, our Jewish and political leaders are attacking one of the first Muslim women in Congress.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar’s earlier comments in February caused outrage when she said: “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.” She got called on it and she apologized.
This latest commentary appears to be a valid critique though. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) touts itself as “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby”. They are heavily influential with respect to lobbying to lawmakers in Washington.
And this isn’t about choosing a side. In fact, this is about balance.
The Israeli lobbyists who direct campaign money to representatives and senators insist that Israeli policy against Palestinians should never be criticized on the floor of Congress. They are also encouraging the US to give Israel $3 billion in aid every year. Israel is a fairly small country but it ranks 29th out of 80 countries with reference to wealth but it’s global influence is incredible. US representatives should be able to question agendas that don’t appear to benefit the United States and its citizens.
For the many people who have criticized Ilhan Omar, there appear to many who support her. Even Jewish people are standing in solidarity with Omar. Via Twitter, celebrities and laypersons alike tweeted their support for Omar.
It is completely fair to call out inappropriate behavior when it is recognized — regardless from where the behavior hails. Rep. Ilhan Omar is doing that and it she just happens to be Muslim. It’s difficult to surmise if Omar wasn’t Muslim would the “anti-semitic” claim stand.
People who aren’t Muslim have lost jobs because they also dared to challenge Israel’s stance on certain situations. We are all human and it is time that we have open and honest conversations to make the world better for everyone.