Blue State Blues: Ilhan Omar’s Real Problem Is America, Not Israel

Ilhan Omar Venezuela Hearing
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It has been four days since Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) apologized for antisemitic tweets suggesting that members of Congress had been paid to support Israel.

But the tweets are still up — as is another antisemitic tweet from 2012 in which she declared: “Israel has hypnotized the world.”

It was also revealed this week that local Jewish leaders in Minnesota tried to educate her about antisemitism last year, to no avail.

Yet the root of Omar’s problem may not simply be insensitivity toward Jews — and she cites the support of radical left-wing Jews, who share her dislike of Israel, in her defense.

Omar’s problem may not just be Jews, or Israel, but America itself.

Since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appointed Omar to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Omar has not only attacked Israel.

She has also attacked the United States, accusing her own country of backing a “coup” against the tyrannical regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, which has destroyed that country’s democracy and led it to starvation. (She also erroneously described the socialist opposition in Venezuela, led by Juan Guaidó, as “far right.”)

On Wednesday, when the House Foreign Affairs Committee met to discuss the situation in Venezuela — a day after thousands of desperate Venezuelans poured into the streets to protest their government’s withholding of food aid — Omar used her question time to launch a personal attack against the new U.S. envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams.

Omar cited his role in the Iran-Contra affair — and, in McCarthyist style, refused to let Abrams answer her claims.

In addition, Omar accused Abrams of supporting human rights abuses by U.S. allies in El Salvador in the 1980s, and suggested that he might back a Venezuelan paramilitary force that could commit “war crimes” or “genocide.”

None of her questions had anything to do with the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Beyond humiliating Abrams — who happens to be Jewish — her goal was to discredit the American fight against communism during the Cold War.

She did not mention the atrocities committed by communist regimes, nor did she acknowledge that Latin America is far better off today, or that many countries there today are rejecting corrupt anti-American, left-wing parties.

Nor was it the first time Omar had painted the U.S. as a malevolent force in the world.

In a video unearthed earlier this month, Omar is seen telling a local television host in Minnesota in 2013 that radical Islamic terrorism, such as the mass murder perpetrated by the Somali jihadist group Al-Shabaab in a shopping mall in Kenya, is a reaction to U.S. “involvement in other people’s affairs.” She complained that violence by the West has been “legitimized.”

Next month, Omar will fly to Los Angeles to deliver the keynote address at a fundraiser for the California branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose political action committee donated to her 2018 campaign.

As Breitbart news has noted:

In 2007-8, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. That case, in turn, led the FBI to discontinue its work with the organization. In 2009, a federal judge ruled that the government “produced ample evidence to establish” the ties of CAIR with Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization. The United Arab Emirates labeled CAIR a terrorist organization in 2014 (a decision that the Obama administration opposed).

Like Omar, CAIR blames U.S. foreign policy for terror.

After the San Bernardino terror attack in 2015, in which Islamist radicals killed 14 and wounded 22 innocent people, the Los Angeles director of CAIR told CNN that the U.S. was “partly responsible” for the mass murder.

“Let’s not forget that some of our own foreign policy, as Americans, as the West, have fueled that extremism,” he said. CAIR’s local branch also offered legal assistance to the family of the terrorists.

Omar is happy to accept CAIR’s money and to associate with its anti-American views.

That negative view of America’s role defines Omar’s opposition to Israel. She is not just critical of Israel. She specifically opposes the fact that Americans support it.

In her claim that politicians are paid to support Israel, she echoed the views of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their 2006-2007 article and book on the “Israel lobby.”

As Harvard professor Ruth Wisse wrote then, Mearsheimer and Walt’s true target was not Israel, but the American people:

[I]t would be a mistake to treat this article on the “Israel Lobby” as an attack on Israel alone, or on its Jewish defenders, or on the organizations and individuals it singles out for condemnation. Its true target is the American public, which now supports Israel with higher levels of confidence than ever before. When the authors imply that the bipartisan support of Israel in Congress is a result of Jewish influence, they function as classic conspiracy theorists who attribute decisions to nefarious alliances rather than to the choices of a democratic electorate. Their contempt for fellow citizens dictates their claims of a gullible and stupid America. Their insistence that American support for Israel is bought and paid for by the Lobby heaps scorn on American judgment and values.

One can only speculate as to where Omar learned her contempt for America — a country that has given her every opportunity as a immigrant, not just to succeed but also to govern. Her view of American leadership is common among the campus left, as is her habit of attributing legitimate criticism of her views to racism or anti-Muslim prejudice.

Her close ally, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), praised Omar for attacking Abrams as a “refugee” who has “felt the ravages of war.” But a former refugee ought to feel empathy for the 3 million refugees displaced by the Maduro regime.

Regardless, someone with contempt for America’s role in defending freedom should not be on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Every day that she remains in that post is a further indictment of Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Party leadership, who have promoted her and continue to protect her radical views.

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.

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