An aide to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D – Minn.) is being criticized for a tweet in which he asserted that anti-Semitism “is a right-wing force,” the Washington Examiner reported Thursday.
Jeremy Slevin, Omar’s communications director, wrote the phrase “Anti-semitism is right-wing force” eight times on his Twitter account on Tuesday, prompting an outpouring of criticism on social media.
Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-win https://t.co/IbISMS7lXU
— Jeremy Slevin (@jeremyslevin) March 26, 2019
Julie Lenarz, a Senior Fellow at The Israel Project, who has written extensively on the anti-Semitism in Britain’s Labour party, currently headed by Jeremy Corbyn, wrote, “Corbyn tries the same deflection tactics. They must think we are fools. We are no fools, and we’ll keep calling out anti-Semites whenever, wherever we find them!!”
“Note the implication of this (false, antisemitism spans the political spectrum) statement,” David Bernstein, a professor at the Scalia Law School of George Mason University, observed. “@IlhanMN is not right-wing, so she can’t be antisemitic. This is the sort of crap American Jews are going to deal with as the Dems lurch toward Corbynization.”
Yair Rosenberg, a senior writer for Tablet Magazine, responded, “I’ve reported on anti-Semitism for years across continents. It’s not a Muslim problem, a Christian problem, a left problem or a right problem. It’s a human problem.”
Slevin’s boss, Omar, is no stranger to charges of anti-Semitism. She once famously claimed that “Israel has hypnotized the world” and accused American Jews of dual loyalty.
Her statements about Jews and Israel prompted freshman Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) to apologize for her remarks. He told a group of constituents last week, “You sent me to Congress to take responsibility. You sent me to Congress to have your back (…) and I failed you. Because I know that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s comments really caused you all a lot of pain by bringing up anti-Semitic tropes.”
Earlier this week at AIPAC, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D – Md.) pushed back against Omar without mentioning her name. “I stand with Israel, proudly and unapologetically. So when someone accuses American supporters of dual loyalty, I say: accuse me,” Hoyer declared. “What weakens us is when, instead of engaging in legitimate debate about policies, someone questions the motives of his or her fellow citizens or tries to silence others through exclusion, disenfranchisement, or fear.”
Hoyer also criticized the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that seeks to isolate Israel and which Omar supports. The majority leader described BDS as “a front for delegitimizing the Jewish people’s right to self-determination.”
Omar has not been silent.
Earlier this week, she rejected criticism directed at her by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D – Calif.).
“We will never allow anyone to make Israel a wedge issue, to be anti-Semitic is to be anti-American,” Pelosi told the 18,000 people attending AIPAC. “In our democratic societies, we should welcome legitimate debate on how best to honor our values and to advance our priorities without questioning loyalty or patriotism.”
Omar responded, saying, “A condemnation for people that want to exercise their First Amendment rights is beneath any leader, and I hope that we find a better use of language when we are trying to speak as members of Congress that are sworn to protect the Constitution.”
Her assertion that BDS is Constitutionally-protected speech is highly questionable.
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