Rep. Ilhan Omar (D – MN) is fighting House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s determination to keep her off the House Foreign Affairs Committee because of her past statements, widely condemned as anti-Semitic, that U.S. support for Israel stems from Jewish money in politics and exploitation of the Holocaust.

For instance, Omar has previously tweeted that support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby,” a reference to hundred dollar bills. She also tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” praying for “Allah [to] awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” She has also compared Israel to the Taliban.


Omar now insists she was misunderstood in these situations and pleads ignorance.

“I was not aware that the word ‘hypnotized’ was [an anti-Semitic] trope. I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money,” she told CNN. “To insinuate that I knowingly said these things when people have read into my comments to make it sound as if I have something against the Jewish community is so wrong.” She also said she never made a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel. “I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

Yes, historically, there have been unflattering associations between Jews and money. We are all painfully aware of the caricatures. Many are also aware that these have their roots in the Middle Ages, when Jews were banned from most professions except money lending – a field open to them only because Christians were bound by prohibitions against usury.

The problem we should all have with Ms. Omar is not that she employed literary devices to help make her points, but the points themselves.

When Jews support Israel, is it ipso facto inimical to U.S. interests? When elected officials support Israel, have they necessarily been corrupted and induced to act against American interests? Does Israel not act in America’s interests when it keeps Arab countries from each other’s throats? Is Israel not an important factor in American military planning? Are Israel’s military and economic power irrelevant to U.S. interests? Is Israel not the closest ally the United States has in the world?

Indeed, it is Omar herself who has provided the best arguments for keeping her off such the foreign affairs committee. For one thing, she has diminished her congressional colleagues by accusing them of selling out American national interests. For another, her ideological problems with Israel will undermine respect for a committee that has a lot to say about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. What is that policy worth if a member of that committee publicly asserts that its Middle East work product is bought and paid for by Jewish money and not a sober analysis of our interests? It would also encourage those around the world who refuse to accept the existence of Israel that their day may be coming if only they persevere in their recalcitrance. If support for Israel is contrived, perhaps members of Congress will at some point come to their senses in the face of the constant importunings of Omar and her ilk.

These are hardly the actions that would commend one for a spot on the foreign affairs committee – but, to be clear, we object to Rep. Omar sitting on the foreign affairs committee only because she is not among the supporters of Israel. That is our right. Jews can lobby, too, and Israel is America’s closest friend in the world. The Congresswoman’s opposition to Israel, however, is driven not by analysis but by doctrine and prejudice, and that should have no place in crafting foreign policy.

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