Ilhan Omar’s Accusers Remind Us That Power Protects Itself


Source: Fibonacci Blue

Maya Friedrich, Staff Writer

U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) received accusations of using anti-Semitic language after she posted several tweets criticizing a pro-Israel lobbyist organization.

Omar, a Somali-American Muslim and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee tweeted “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” She also drew attention to the fact that Congress members have accepted large sums of money from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an organization that self-identifies as “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby,” tweeting “it’s all about the Benjamins, baby.”

Several congress members from both parties, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), called out Omar for her alleged perpetuation of the historically loaded stereotype that Jewish people are greedy and untrustworthy.

Antisemitism is, no doubt, a serious concern in the U.S. and worldwide. In fact, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found a 57% surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the US in 2017.

However, further context of the situation shows how the antisemitism accusations against Ilhan Omar were used as a political tool to combat her anti-Zionist stance. Additionally, Omar’s emphasis on the hefty sums of money accepted by congress members is no exaggeration.

According to the global business news company Quartz, AIPAC’s lobbying contributions have jumped by $4 million in the last twenty years, and pro-Israel congressional campaign contributions to Democrats have increased by $1 million in just two years.

Omar’s accusers minimized her concerns about lobbyists by forcing her to issue a grand apology for what was, at most, an untasteful but valid critique.

While Omar’s video apology was respectful and professional, it is important to recognize that her apology was not prompted by fear of spreading anti-Semitic ideas–it was prompted by fear of a free-thinking congresswoman shaking the system.