(WASHINGTON, D.C 02/12/2019)—Pro-Israel groups want quiet influence in Washington but get insecure when anyone shines a light on that power. This week, Rep. Ilhan Omar broke the internet with her rebuke of the Israel lobby’s influence on politicians. This is an indication that AIPAC’s power is waning and they can’t afford to have members of Congress speaking out openly against their influence. On Sunday night, Rep. Omar was attacked and falsely accused of anti-Semitism for pointing out this uncontroversial fact about AIPAC. The charge that the Congresswoman’s statements on Twitter Sunday night were anti-Semitic tropes is another attempt by pro-Israel forces to quash any criticism of their powerful influence over U.S. Congress. This is a result of Israel and its allies in the U.S. feeling the heat and recognizing that blind support for Israel among the younger generation, particularly Democrats, is steadily crumbling.
But this smear campaign is nothing new. In the few short weeks since Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib assumed office, they were under attack and maligned for their support of Palestinian rights. In fact, if one were to examine the original tweet to which Rep. Omar was responding, it was regarding Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s shameless threats to punish the two Muslim congresswomen for their criticism of Israel. A bill was introduced into the House early this session essentially singling out and condemning Reps. Omar and Tlaib as anti-Semitic simply because they spoke out in support of boycotting Israel to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people. These two women represent a new wave of diversity, not only in color and gender, but in their alternative approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Finally, the labeling of any critic of Israel or its lobby as an anti-Semite, particularly as we’ve seen recently in the attacks against prominent black intellectuals, is a well-worn tactic by Zionists to suppress any intelligent and honest policy discussion in this country. On the contrary, the particularly vicious and deeply personal attacks on Reps. Tlaib and Omar carry Islamophobic and anti-black undertones. As Muslim women of color their legitimate critiques have been heavily exaggerated and viewed through the false stereotype of Muslims hating Jews, which has no basis in reality.
As supporters of freedom and justice in Palestine, we must not shirk our responsibility: we must stand with those that are courageous, progressive, and fighting for the marginalized and oppressed.
- Keep up the campaign to support Rep. Ilhan Omar! Let her know that you support her and her efforts in the face of this onslaught. Please call her today and tweet in support of her @Ilhan using the hashtag #IStandWithIlhan. Her office number is (202) 225-4755. Her website is https://omar.house.gov/ , where you can email her.
- Call Nancy Pelosi’s office at (202) 225-4965 and voice your opposition to her shameful capitulation to the Israel Lobby. Tell Speaker Pelosi that criticism of Israeli policies and the pro-Israel Lobby is NOT anti-Semitism and to stop conflating the two!