When Ilhan Omar says that there’s too much money in American politics, she’s stating the obvious. That’s why I support her brave campaign against the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Realtors, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, General Electric, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Business Roundtable, the AARP, and Boeing.
These are America’s top 10 lobby groups, ranked by total spending over the last 20 years. In 2018, the US Chamber of Commerce spent $94.8 million on lobbying. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, spent $21.7 million and surged to Number Eight on the charts. The America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) ranked Number 157, and spent $3.5 million. Who knew you could buy America so cheaply?
Ilhan, that’s who. In 2012, only Ilhan was wise enough to see that ‘Israel has hypnotized the world’. Now, only Ilhan is bold enough to say that American support for Israel is ‘all about the Benjamins’, rather than a mass of reasons religious, strategic, cultural, and sentimental. And only Ilhan has the integrity to double down, and say, ‘I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.’
The 19th-century British prime minister Viscount Palmerston said that great powers have interests, not friends. Omar’s notion that the greatest power in history is somehow beholden to a faraway state the size of New Jersey is a delusion. So is her notion that Israel, a state which has taken to best part of seven decades to set up a railroad network, possesses diabolical powers to ‘hypnotize’ the world. So is her idea that Israel’s supporters, Jewish and not, operate by making congressmen and senators ‘pledge allegiance’, like a militia in a failed state. This last might be Omar’s biggest delusion of all. She actually believes that promises mean something in politics.
Omar’s private thoughts are nobody else’s business. It’s not as if the doctors, Jewish ones probably, have ever dissected a brain and noted hypertrophy of the Jew-hating lobe. Words and deeds are what matters, especially in public life. In which case, anyone who claims that Omar isn’t, to use Nancy Pelosi’s formulation, an ‘intentional’ Jew-hater isn’t listening. Omar has herself apologized for what she admitted was the ‘ugly sentiment’ of her ‘hypnotized’ imagery. It took seven years, but shortly after entering Congress, she disavowed that ‘anti-Semitic trope’ as ‘unfortunate and offensive’. She also apologized ‘unequivocally’ in February after the ‘Benjamins’ episode. Her defense was that she was ignorant of the ‘painful history of anti-Semitic tropes’. She intended it; she just didn’t know what it meant.
Omar didn’t know that the language in which she expressed her malignant delusions was in the lineage of Jew-hatred in its Christian and European forms. Until she entered the national stage, she’d had no need to know. Omar’s malignant delusions are commonplace in the Arab and Muslim world from which she comes. They are commonplace among the leadership of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Hamas-friendly front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood which supported her Congressional campaign. And they have become commonplace on the left of the Democratic party.
Democrats now protest that the whites and the right have their racists too. In other words, they’re saying that two wrongs make a right. This is playground logic, and it ignores the imbalance between the two kinds of anti-Jewish racism. Firstly, no Republican leader ever posed for the cover of any other national outlet with Steve King, or Omar’s new Twitter chum David Duke. Secondly, the Republican leadership, no doubt hypnotized by the Benjamins tucked in Ivanka Trump’s suspender belt, is hostile to the white racist fringe, and the white racist fringe detests the Republican leadership. Thirdly, the white racists are nothing if not candid about their beliefs and their intentions towards the Jewish people. Ilhan Omar isn’t even honest.
Omar said she was against BDS when running for the House and then revised her position as soon as she won her set. She denounces Israel and Saudi Arabia, who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood, but not Turkey or Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood’s sponsors. She may be ignorant, but she knows exactly what she is doing. She is furtive and duplicitous, and she is successfully importing the language and ideas of racism into a susceptible Democratic party.
The buffoons who lead the Democrats are allowing Omar to mainstream anti-Jewish racism. The Democratic leadership tried to co-opt the energy of the post-2008 grassroots, to give its exhausted rainbow coalition an infusion of 21st-century identity politics. The failure to issue the promised condemnation of Omar shows that a European-style ‘red-green’ alliance of hard leftists and Islamists is co-opting the party. This, like the pro-Democratic media’s extended PR work for Rashida Tlaib and that other left-Islamist pinup Linda Sarsour, reflects a turning point in American history.
The metaphysical, conspiratorial hatred of Jews is a symptom of civilization in decline. So the inability of the Democratic leadership to call Omar a racist reflects more than the moral and ideological decay of a political party. Americans like to believe in their exceptionalism, and American Jews like to say America is different. We’re about see if those ideas are true.
Dominic Green is Life & Arts Editor of Spectator USA.