- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2019

Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat Muslim representing Minnesota, has generated quite a controversy for suggesting that America’s historical support for Israel is tantamount to “allegiance” to a foreign nation and for previous remarks that she’s made regarding the Jewish people.

And rightly so. Her remarks ought not be taken lightly.

Just as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her socialist principles warn of a shocking, trending direction of America’s domestic politics, Omar’s statements serve as a harbinger of what could be coming down the pike for U.S. foreign policy.

What starts as subtlety can soon enough become rooted and sown.

Omar, in 2012, tweeted “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

Last month, she tweeted that America’s traditional and long-standing support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins” — meaning, pro-Israel politicians in Congress were simply doing the bidding, blindly, of the Israeli lobbyists on Capitol Hill.

Then just recently, she referred to her fellow Democratic congressional colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, another Muslim, and spoke of the unfairness of assumptions that “everything we say about Israel” must be “anti-Semitic” simply “because we are Muslim.”

And she finished with this: “So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Omar didn’t say “Israel” — but that’s what she meant.

And it’s problematic for two reasons: First off, supporting a nation financially and politically is not the same as rendering allegiance. Second off? As Democrat Rep. Nita Lowey tweeted: “Throughout history, Jews have been accused of dual loyalty, leading to discrimination and violence, which is why these accusations are so hurtful.”

Yep. There’s that old anti-Semitism seeping in again.

It’s the response of others that’s even more concerning.

The House, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, answered the calls of outrage against Omar’s latest by preparing a resolution condemning anti-Semitism — but without mentioning Omar by name. Why the cowardice? Regardless, leftists are still rallying to Omar’s defense.

Linda Sarsour, co-leader of the Women’s March — who’s been soundly criticized for her own anti-Semitic ties and remarks — slammed Pelosi on Facebook for even suggesting a resolution.

“Nancy is a typical white feminist upholding the patriarchy doing the dirty work of powerful white men,” Sarsour wrote. “God forbid the men are upset — no worries, Nancy to the rescue to stroke their egos.”

Tlaib, in a tweet, complained Omar was “being targeted just like many civil rights icons before us who spoke out about oppressive policies.”

Ocasio-Cortez scolded in her own tweet that “‘calling out’ is one of the measures of last resort, not 1st or 2nd resort,” and suggested House leadership was guilty of imposing an unfair punishment.

“One of the things that is hurtful about the extent to which reprimand is sought of Ilhan is that no one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx + other communities,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Meanwhile, look around. Anti-Semitism has been surfacing with alarming frequency at select spots around the nation.

“Anti-Semitic incidents surge on college campuses after Pittsburgh synagogue shooting,” Inside Higher Ed reported in December.

“Left-Wing Anti-Semitism: The Greatest Campus Threat Is Ignored by the SPLC,” FRC.org recently reported, about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s failure to adequately address the 1,700-plus reported anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses between 2015 and 2017.

And the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights said it has secured, in the last 13 years, “250 U.S. victories” with its Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign — the movement, commonly called BDS, that outright bars business dealings with companies tied to Israel.

Watch carefully, America.

First comes the talk, subtle, on the tongue of a serpent.

Then comes the action.

Finally comes the change in U.S. policy — and eventually, mass acceptance of what once was unthinkable.

Nipping Omar in the bud is not only crucial to preserving America’s long-standing relationship with Israel. It’s also crucial to making clear that America will never become a nation that tolerates anti-Semitism in word or deed — that America will always shut the gates firmly on anti-Semitism, in all its shapes and forms.  

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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