When Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) claimed last week that pro-Israel Americans have “allegiance to a foreign country,” she drew applause from her supporters by complaining that the debate about antisemitism means that “nobody ever gets to have a proper debate of what is happening in Palestine.”
That is the frequent refrain of her supporters — that Omar’s critics want to silence debate. But none has been able to answer the question: debate about what, exactly?
Omar was not responding to current events in the Middle East when she made her antisemitic ramblings on Twitter last month. She was responding to Republican efforts to pass a motion disapproving of Omar’s past statement that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” in response to a war at the time betwteen Israel and the Hamas terror group, and antisemitic comments by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (R-MN) criticizing a bill in the Senate to oppose boycotts of Israel.
Omar, Tlaib, and other left-wing critics of Israel — such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who backed Hamas terrorists last year in their phony “protests” at the Gaza border — tend to frame their professed “support” for the Palestinians chiefly in the form of complaints about U.S. support for Israel.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a far-left group that opposes pro-Israel policies in Washington, criticized Omar’s remarks but told MSNBC that her critics were trying to “silence” debate over “policy.” He did not identify exactly what “policy” was being debated when Omar decided to complain about nefarious influence in Congress.
The last thing Omar and her supporters want to do is debate “what is happening in Palestine,” because that would expose uncomfortable truths about the Palestinians.
But let us, for a moment, discuss “what is happening in Palestine.” The following headlines are from the past week:
- Last Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejected hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that Israel collects on its behalf, in protest over a new Israeli law that withholds the portion of the budget that Palestinians spend on supporting terrorists in Israeli prisons or the families of Palestinians killed in terror attacks against Israel. In other words: the PA is making its own people suffer so that it can continue offering incentives for terrorism.
- On Sunday, the PA’s official newspaper ran an op-ed describing the U.S. Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, as “mongoloid.” A former PA official wrote: “Anyone who follows the prattle of Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s envoy in the matter of the deal of the century, sees that his condition is very similar to Down Syndrome. … He is short, his eyes are similar to Mongoloid eyes, he prattles unrestrainedly, and is politically retarded.”
- On Sunday, the Israeli military struck Hamas positions in Gaza after terrorists launched explosive balloons at Israel — again. Terrorists began using incendiary balloons after Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system made rockets far less effective at killing Israeli civilians. The balloons set fields on fire and cause massive ecological damage.
That is “what is happening in Palestine.” The Palestinian leadership continues to promote terror and incite hatred. Omar would rather cast antisemitic aspersions on pro-Israel Americans than hold Palestinian leaders accountable.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.