Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a.k.a. first Somali-American in Congress, last week told CNN there was nothing wrong with her 2012 tweet in which she waxed philosophical: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
“I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans,” Omar said, “My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza war, and I am clearly speaking about the way the Israeli regime was conducting itself in that war.”
NY Times pundit Bari Weiss on Monday made a gallant effort to explain (Ilhan Omar and the Myth of Jewish Hypnosis):
“The Jewish power to hypnotize the world, as Ms. Omar put it, is the plot of Jud Süss — the most successful Nazi film ever made. In the film, produced by Joseph Goebbels himself, Josef Süss Oppenheimer, an 18th-century religious Jew, emerges from the ghetto, makes himself over as an assimilated man, and rises to become the treasurer to the Duke of Württemberg. Silly duke: Allowing a single Jew into his city leads to death and destruction.”
Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, and both played the “I don’t want to make this race about Israel and Palestine” game when they were running for office. In Omar’s case, during her House campaign, she said she did not support the BDS movement, describing it as counterproductive to peace.
One week after her election, she told Muslim Girl that she supports the BDS.
While serving in the Minnesota legislature, Omar was referring to the Jewish state as “the apartheid Israeli regime,” called on the University of Minnesota divest from its Israel Bonds, and attacked a state law against the BDS movement.
Bari comments: “Those who call themselves anti-Zionists usually insist they are not anti-Semites. But I struggle to see what else to call an ideology that seeks to eradicate only one state in the world — the one that happens to be the Jewish one — while empathetically insisting on the rights of self-determination for every other minority. Israeli Jews, descended in equal parts from people displaced from Europe and the Islamic world, are barely 6.5 million of the world’s 7.7 billion people. What is it about them, exactly, that puts them beyond the pale?”
A regular at the Times, Bari is to be applauded for concluding that Omar’s identity, as a woman of color, a refugee, a Muslim, “seems to have fogged the minds of some Jewish commentators, who have insisted that we ought not to criticize Ms. Omar and other people of color who have recently exposed their anti-Semitism (Tamika Mallory, Marc Lamont Hill) because, well, it’s just not a good look to be criticizing leaders of the black community right now.”
“Ms. Omar now sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she’ll represent a growing intellectual climate that sees Jews as bearers both of monstrous moral guilt and of the secret power to conceal it, Bari warns.
Here’s a funny observation: after she had been elected to Congress, Omar announced: “In a time where there is a lot of religious bigotry, it’s almost perfect to have this counterbalance. My sister Rashida and I are from the heartland of America. To be elected to Congress is a real rejection of that message.”
Or, instead, taking that message of bigotry to a new height.