WaPo’s Marc Thiessen on Omar, Tlaib: It’s Not a Muslim Ban; It’s an Antisemite Ban

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib (Adam Bettcher / Getty)
Adam Bettcher / Getty

TEL AVIV – A Washington Post columnist slammed Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar for falsely accusing Israel of denying them entry because they are Muslim and “implementing Trump’s Muslim ban,” saying instead that the two women were barred from visiting because they are antisemites. 

“If Omar and Tlaib can boycott Israel, why can’t Israel boycott them?” Marc Thiessen asked in an oped published Tuesday.

“There is nothing outrageous about Israel’s decision to bar entry to politicians who advocate its destruction,” he added.

“Sorry, it’s not a Muslim ban; it’s an antisemite ban,” Thiessen said.

The two lawmakers on Monday released a statement saying they were barred from entering Israel because they are “the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress.” On Twitter, Omar accused Israel of implementing “Trump’s Muslim ban.” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who Thiessen calls a “supposedly responsible” Democrat, tweeted “PM Netanyahu — Drop your Muslim ban.”

According to Thiessen, the problem is not — as Omar claims — that Israel barred entry to a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, but rather that there is an antisemite sitting on that committee in the first place.

Thiessen goes on to list Omar’s antisemitic remarks:

Omar has said that when she hears people call Israel a democracy, “I almost chuckle.” She has said “Israel has hypnotized the world“; has declared her hope that Allah will “awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel”; supports a boycott of Israel, a country she has compared to Nazi Germany; accused her House colleagues who support Israel of pushing “for allegiance to a foreign country”; and declared that support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins.” (She later apologized for the last comment, but not all the others, before or since that one.)

Thiessen then asks how it is that Omar, after making virulently antisemitic comments, is not stripped of her role on the very committee that aids the U.S. in shaping policy towards Israel. “When Rep. Steve King defended white-supremacist views, the GOP leadership in the House stripped him of his committee assignments and voted 424 to 1 on a resolution condemning the Iowa Republican,” Thiessen notes.

The Post columnist also blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for defending Omar’s “allegiance to a foreign country” remark when Pelosi said, “I don’t believe it was intended in an antisemitic way.”

Thiessen asks: “I’m sorry, what other way could she have intended it? Can you imagine if Republicans had defended King, saying, ‘I don’t believe it was intended in a white-supremacist way?'”

Thiessen then moves onto Tlaib:

Like Omar, Tlaib has accused her colleagues of dual loyalty — a classic antisemitic trope — declaring “they forgot what country they represent.” She advocates a one-state solution, which means she opposes the very existence of the State of Israel. She wrote for Louis Farrakhan’s publication, the Final Call, which regularly publishes antisemitic screeds. And, according to the Anti-Defamation League, she invited a Palestinian activist to her swearing-in who has praised Hamas and Hezbollah and has equated Zionists with Nazis.

Thiessen points out that the nixed trip to Israel (which the itinerary referred to as “Palestine”) was organized by Miftah, “a rabidly antisemitic group that has accused Jews of using ‘the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover,’ has published neo-Nazi propaganda questioning ‘the Jewish “Holocaust” tale’ in quotes and has celebrated terrorists who murder Israeli children.”

He calls the Democrats’ tolerance of Omar and Tlaib “appalling” and says that on the left, antisemitism is manifest when Democratic members of Congress compare Israel to Nazi Germany. Thiessen writes that antisemitism exists on the right, but says that while right-wing antisemites remain on the political fringes, left-wing antisemites have worked their way into the corridors of power and are being defended by Democratic leaders.

Many of the same Democrats who correctly criticized President Trump for his weak response to Charlottesville are now openly defending Omar and Tlaib. Pelosi called the decision to bar them “beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel.” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned that “it will only hurt the U.S.-Israel relationship and support for Israel in America.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a Democratic presidential candidate, called it “a shameful, unprecedented move.” Warren’s fellow candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), went so far as to defend the pair’s views, declaring that “opposing Netanyahu’s policies is not ‘hating the Jewish people.’”

But Omar and Tlaib don’t just oppose Netanyahu’s policies; they oppose the State of Israel. How sad that so many prominent Democrats are condemning Israel’s decision to bar these antisemites more vigorously than they have condemned their antisemitism.


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