Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has, thanks to the weak leadership of the Democratic Party, brought antisemitism into the mainstream of American politics.
She did it thanks to assistance from the so-called “Justice Democrats,” who argued that rebuking her for using age-old anti-Jewish canards would mean silencing criticism of Israel.
It was a curious argument, since Omar had not criticized any particular Israeli policy or action. Her attack — for which she refuses to apologize — was against Americans who support Israel.
To protect her, Omar’s defenders linked antisemitism to anti-Israel criticism in a way critics of Israel have resisted for decades. Their habitual complaint had been that Israel’s defenders try to undermine legitimate criticism of the Jewish state by labeling such criticism as antisemitic — though, as Alan Dershowitz has pointed out in The Case Against Israel’s Enemies, it is almost impossible to find any examples of “mainstream supporters of Israel” who equate “mere criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.”
Now, the Democrats have officially adopted the position that antisemitism must be tolerated if it might be construed as an effort to criticize Israel.
This has long been the tacit position of many left-wing critics of Israel, as they have wished away the official anti-Jewish propaganda of the Palestinian Authority and other Arab regimes. Now it is party dogma, clothed in condescension as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tells Americans that Omar “doesn’t understand” the meaning of the words she uses.
Omar understood her words very well, and they were applauded enthusiastically by the audience in a Washington, DC, restaurant owned by an anti-Israel activist. She complained that accusations of antisemitism meant that “nobody ever gets to have a proper debate of what is happening in Palestine” — and then made her now-infamous statement about “allegiance to a foreign country.”
That is a debate about Jews, not Israel — and Omar got it. Thanks to Democrats, Antisemitism is protected by anti-Israel criticism.
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.