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IM JEWISH AND I FIND THE HYPOCRISY OF REPUBLICAN ISLAMOPHOBES HOUNDING ILHAN OMAR BREATHTAKING | OPINION

Representative Ilhan Omar is facing censure in the House, brought in part by her own party leaders. She is also facing shockingly Islamophobic attacks calling her a terrorist, simply because she is a Muslim. And all the while, other congressional leaders are tweeting out unabashedly anti-Semitic messages with abandon.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking enough at its own right, but it is also an indicator of the fight between an emerging progressive coalition that seems different than Congressional generations of old, and which increasingly integrates Palestinian rights into its agenda, based on universal rights and the need for equality and freedom for all people.

Representative Ilhan Omar is also part of a class of newly elected Congresspeople who don’t look much like Congresspeople of generations past: dynamic women of color from communities (Black and Muslim in Ilhan Omar’s case,) who face some of the fiercest racism and xenophobia in this country.

Not coincidentally, it is young people, women, and people of color who make up the emerging coalition of progressive people that support Palestinian rights as a natural part of an agenda based on fairness, dignity and freedom. This is the context around the accusations of anti-Semitism and islamophobia in the last weeks centering on Representative Omar. While some critics of Representative Omar’s tweets made them in good faith, too often they were part of a cynical strategy to paint this emerging progressive coalition as anti-Semitic.

As one of two of the first Muslim-American women in Congress, Ilhan Omar is facing a specific set of demands and attacks. Accusations of anti-Semitism are being used to silence her criticisms of Israel. An obvious form of Islamophobia coming from the right is attacking her directly for her identity. A soft form of Islamophobia is evident in the lesser degree of concern expressed for the far more outrageous attacks on her personally.  And many more liberal elected officials and others are making a false claim of equivalence between calling out of Omar’s tweets (which were about Israel) and calling out Islamophobia against Omar herself.

Rep. Omar has engaged with critics who brought up good faith critiques of her language and has shown true commitment to live up to her values—unlike other members of Congress who continue to promote anti-Semitic messages

Even before the West Virginia GOP posted a heinous Islamophobic poster linking Representative Ilhan Omar to the attacks of 9/11 because she is Muslim, the Islamophobia at play in the attacks on Omar was blatantly clear. As Omar tweeted: “My Americanness is questioned by the President and the @GOP on a daily basis, yet my colleagues remain silent.” At the same time, Congressional leaders are making actual anti-Semitic statements—like the tweet posted over the weekend by Rep. Jim Jordan, spelling Tom Steyer’s name with a dollar sign instead of an S, or then-Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s tweet about Jewish donors which are going all but unnoticed, and certainly unpunished.

anti-Semitism—specifically as an expression of right-wing white supremacy—has never been in such proximity to power, at least in my lifetime, and Jewish people from across the political spectrum are rightfully frightened. Charlottesville, what feels like a cascade of graffiti and physical attacks on Jewish people—and above all else, the murderous attack in Pittsburgh—are making many of us revise our belief of our safety in this country, especially those of us who are white and who have not been singled out as directly for abuse, in recent lived experience. Read more

Read also: Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris Condemn Effort To Rebuke Ilhan Omar

IM JEWISH AND I FIND THE HYPOCRISY OF REPUBLICAN ISLAMOPHOBES HOUNDING ILHAN OMAR BREATHTAKING | OPINION

IM JEWISH AND I FIND THE HYPOCRISY OF REPUBLICAN ISLAMOPHOBES HOUNDING ILHAN OMAR BREATHTAKING | OPINION