Letter: Ilhan Omar's comments feed anti-Semitism
To the Editor:
Paul Waldman's commentary, "The dishonest smearing of Ilhan Omar," was a bit of American deja vu. He quotes Ms. Omar's insinuation of "political influence in this country" by "people" who owe, or push for, "allegiance to a foreign country" (i.e. Israel). These sentiments are reminiscent of the 1920's Ku Klux Klan propaganda about Catholic organizations, whom they alleged owed their true allegiance to the Vatican, not the United States. The Klan's defense was little different from Mr. Waldman's today, i.e. no one was anti-Catholic, the KKK was just supportive of having "right" Americans. Equally, per Mr. Waldman, Ms. Omar wasn't attacking American Jews. Well, maybe she was only attacking American Jews who exercised their political rights to support a democratic and stable Jewish state which, by the way, is a primary U.S. ally that provides significant benefits to the United States.
In fact, Mr. Waldman argues that by the absence of the word "Jews" from Ms. Omar's comments she wasn't even referring to Jews. Instead, she was referring to other Israeli supporters, like evangelicals, or even the Texas Republican Party. Moreover, he asserts that the "dual loyalty" trope about Jews allegiance to Israel, really is no longer alive. Yet, with the significant rise in anti-Semitic attacks, including murder in the Pittsburg synagogue, anti-Semitic activists aren't distracted by such complex thinking. They hear and gladly react to the welcome dog whistle of a congressional who offers to lead them on their anti-Semitic quest.
Regrettably, hate tactics have not changed in the last 100 years of American history. Our national leaders insist their rhetoric is not anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT or anti-anything, regardless of what it may effectively do. They are simply expressing their support for being 100 percent American. But, of course, when those tropes are not called out for what they are, and not stanched, political systems can become rabid, as is evident from both the past and present.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.