By Alex Titus
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is back in the news after defending a 2012 tweet she wrote stating that “Israel has hypnotized the world.” In a recent CNN clip, she questioned how her comments could be construed as “offensive to Jewish Americans.”
Yes, comparing the Jewish state to some sort of manipulative global force — how could anyone possibly find that offensive?
Omar’s comment alone is striking, but what is more concerning is that her comment represents a growing strand of casual anti-Semitism in progressive politics. Activists and politicians on the far-left are continually finding themselves embroiled in controversies related to remarks on Jews and the Jewish state. Clearly, it’s time for progressives to get their house in order.
Jews are right to be concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism in America.
In 2017, incidents related to anti-Semitism increased by a whopping 57 percent in the United States according to the Anti-Defamation League. Making up only 2 percent of the population, Jews faced more physical attacks than all other religions combined in 2017. The notorious Boycott, Sanction, and Divestment (BDS) movement is gaining steam across the country.
Despite this growing problem, some progressive politicians and activists seem to have no concern espousing the historically hateful rhetoric that leads to wide-scale anti-Semitism. Omar’s 2012 tweet is a great example. As Bari Weiss noted in a recent op-ed for the New York Times, Jews “hypnotizing” the public was the very plot of Jud Süss, a popular Nazi propaganda film.
The Jew as a “manipulator” has also made its way into the public discourse after Trayon White, a Democratic Member of the D.C. City Council, stated in a Facebook video last year that Jews were responsible for controlling the weather.
“Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation … And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful,” White noted in the video.
The Rothschilds frequently play boogie man in a host of other anti-Semitic conspiracies.
Anti-Zionism also makes up an important facet of this brand of progressive politician and activist. Sure enough, Omar supports the deeply flawed BDS movement meant to harm the Jewish state.
Omar’s anti-Israel views are backed by Michigan Congresswoman and progressive firebrand Rashida Tlaib. A widely circulated picture of a map in her Congressional office showed a sticky note of the word “Palestine” covering Israel’s existing borders. References to Palestine engulfing Israel are a not so subtle hint at the dissolution of the Jewish state.
Tlaib also makes no qualms paling around with Abbas Hamideh, a known pro-Hezbollahactivist. Hezbollah, a Lebanese terrorist organization, frequently hosts rallies where supporters chant “Death to Israel!” Choice exerts of Hamideh’s tweets include clamoring against the “criminal Zionists” and praise for Samir Kuntar, a convicted terrorist, and murderer.
Prominent left-wing grassroots activists have also had their fair share of controversy. Tamika Mallory, the President of the Women’s March, has become embroiled in scandals related to her stances on the Jewish state and who she chooses to associate with.
In a recent interview on PBS’ “Firing Line,” Mallory refused to answer whether Israel should have the right to exist. “I just don’t feel that everyone has a right to exist at the disposal of another group,” she noted during the back and forth. After being pressed, Mallory angry stated that she was “done talking” about the subject.
Mallory also refuses to disavow her association with Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan who she once dubbed “The greatest of all time.” Yes, this is the same Farrakhan who proudly compared Jews to “termites” and that “Lying, murderous Zionist Jews” were behind the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Asked to condemn Farrakhan’s blatant anti-Semitic remarks in an interview on ABC’s “The View” by Meghan McCain, Mallory refused based on the grounds that McCain’s line of questioning was “racist.”
The past few months make clear that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has work to do. Progressives can either choose to stop associating with politicians and activists who spew hate towards Jews or continue down a dangerous path of mainlining anti-Semitism. For the Jewish people and America’s sake, we should hope they choose the former.