Photo Credit: Anadolu Agency Handout
Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar meets with President Erdogan in New York, September 18, 2017

The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 405-11, with three abstaining, to recognize as genocide the 1914 to 1923 Turkish mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians.

Victims of the Armenian genocide, published 1918 / Ambassador Henry Morgenthau via Wikimedia

The eleven who voted against the resolution were all Republicans: 4 from Indiana, 2 each from North Carolina and Texas, and one each from Alabama, Maryland, and Oklahoma. The three who voted “present” were a Republican from Arizona, a Democrat from Texas, and Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota.

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There are many reasons politicians vote in a surprising fashion. In the case of the Armenian genocide, the Turkish government has been waging war on these resolutions across the western world for decades. Unlike Germany, which has fully embraced history’s verdict on its responsibility for the Jewish Holocaust, the Turks are invested in wiping out the memory of their mass murders. The Turks use lobbying, political pressure, bribery, economic threats – so someone should check why 11 Republicans refused on Tuesday to embrace the Armenian genocide resolution.

But the abstention vote of Rep. Ilhan Omar stands out because she has gone into considerable length to justify it, and because, not surprisingly, she’s good friends with Turkish president and Sultan wannabe Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Indeed, some rightwing news sources have dubbed her a Turkish agent.

For the record, President Trump’s National Security Advisor and convicted felon Michael Flynn also admitted to being a Turkish foreign agent.

Omar said on Tuesday, mixing chutzpa with self-righteousness after her shameful vote, that genocide “should not be used as cudgel in a political fight.”

She explained, in her special, terrifying dialect of newspeek: “I believe accountability for human rights violations – especially ethnic cleansing and genocide – is paramount. But accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as cudgel in a political fight. It should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics.”

She also preached: “A true acknowledgement of historical crimes against humanity must include both the heinous genocides of the 20th century, along with earlier mass slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide, which took the lives of hundreds of millions of indigenous people in this country.”

So, here’s a taste of what the academics are saying:

The Armenian Genocide is considered to have been the first modern genocide, because, like the Jewish Holocaust, it was planned and executed by the full power of the state.

The official starting date of the Armenian Holocaust is April 24, 1915, when the Turks rounded up, arrested, and deported from Istanbul an estimated 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders to the Ankara area in the hinterland, where the majority of them were executed.

The genocide proceeded in two phases: the wholesale murder of able-bodied Armenian men in massacres; followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly, and the infirm on death marches into the Syrian desert, without food and water, where they were subjected to rape and massacres.

The Armenian genocide featured mass burning, mass drowning, and killings by doctors – serving as a preview of the 1939-1945 Holocaust. There is no consensus on exactly how many Armenians were murdered, but there is a general agreement among western historians that between 800,000 and 1,500,000 perished.

As of 2019, 32 countries (including, this week, the US) have acknowledged the Armenian Holocaust perpetrated by the Turks, including Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia. 49 of the 50 US states have recognized the Holocaust – only Mississippi has not, but the full Mississippi House delegation (3 Republicans and 1 Democrat) voted Yea on Tuesday’s resolution.

Speaking of votes and acknowledgement, Omar is the only member of “The Squad” who did not support the genocide vote. Say what you will about Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – they supported the resolution.

According to Conservative Review, Rep. Omar on Sept. 18, 2017 met with Erdogan in New York City, where he attended the UN General Assembly. In a since-deleted interview with Tusmo Times, a local newspaper serving the Somali American community in Minnesota, Omar reportedly said that she met with Erdogan for about an hour and they discussed issues concerning Omar’s native Somalia and Somalis living in Minnesota.

Remember Omar’s notorious “Benjamins” tweet, and her other tweet, about the dual loyalties of American Jews? Isn’t this delicious?

Omar said she discussed with Erdogan and other senior Turkish officials investment and trade between Turkey and Somalia, and the meeting ended with Erdogan asking Omar to voice her support for Turkey.

Now you know why the representative from Minnesota voted the way she did.

It was the Benjamins, baby.

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