Rep. Ilhan Omar got blitzed by payback and prejudice
The idea that Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, who has essentially given aid and comfort to those who supported an insurrection against the United States government, would accuse everyone of being un-American is as rich as it is Orwellian.
But there he was on Thursday, shortly after successfully trying to eject Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a black Somali-born Muslim, from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and calling her disloyal to the United denigrate states.
According to the House resolution, passed 218 to 211 along strict party lines, for an anti-Semitic remark four years ago for which she was condemned by her own caucus and for which she apologized. And for describing Israel as an “apartheid state,” a characterization used by at least two major human rights groups. For saying that “unimaginable atrocities” must be condemned no matter who commits them – America, Israel, Hamas, Afghanistan or the Taliban. And for characterizing the 9/11 terrorist attacks as “some people did something.”
(On that last point, it’s important to clarify that she did not downplay the attacks, but described the anti-Islamic fervor that subsequently gripped the country in a speech to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The group, she noted, was formed after 9/11 “because they realized that some people had done something and that we are all slowly losing access to our civil liberties”).
Keeping Omar on the foreign affairs committee, McCarthy said, “puts America at risk, and I will not do it under my watch.” In a fundraising appeal Friday morning, he defended the move, warning that Omar’s words “reveal our alliance with ours.” Directly endangering No. 1 ally in the Middle East, Israel”.
How exactly does their opposing view of Israel endanger the US more than, say, voting against confirming the results of a free and fair presidential election, as 139 of McCarthy’s colleagues in the Republican House did, or giving Vladimir Putin carte blanche by threatens to stop military aid to Ukraine like his MAGA faction is doing? McCarthy doesn’t say it.
That’s because Omar’s ousting is, as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) put it, “an act of political revenge.” It’s revenge for the House that stripped extremist GOP Reps Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona of their committee duties two years ago for antagonistic and violent social media posts targeting Democratic colleagues.
“Do not insult our intelligence community by saying this is about anti-Semitism,” said Democratic Representative Adam B. Schiff, whom McCarthy unilaterally banned from the House Intelligence Committee for spearheading the first-ever impeachment trial against then-President Trump had, although the speaker pretended to make the country safer. (From what? Who knows.)
Like many of their Republican peers, Greene and Gosar have a history of repeating anti-Semitic tropes without consequences.
So did McCarthy, who accused three billionaire Jewish philanthropists – George Soros, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer – of trying to “buy” the 2018 midterm elections. That tweet, which McCarthy later deleted, was posted the day after authorities discovered a pipe bomb in the mailbox at Soros’ New York home.
For her part, Greene came to Congress as a full-fledged QAnon conspiracy fool before blaming naivety and a little over-reliance on the internet for her involvement.
In 2018, she famously speculated that American wildfires were caused by space lasers to benefit PG&E, Rothschild, Inc. and then-California Governor Jerry Brown, whose proposed high-speed rail line (according to her Facebook post) Exactly where the fires burned (As far as I can tell, she never actually used the phrase “Jewish space lasers,” but that’s certainly what her post was about.)
That same year, Greene shared a video claiming that “Zionist racists” were conspiring to flood Europe with migrants to replace whites.
But now, after supporting McCarthy as a speaker, she’s his BFF.
“I will never leave this woman. I will always take care of her,” McCarthy told a friend, who repeated the statement to The New York Times in an article about the couple’s unlikely alliance.
Gosar, with years of ties to white nationalist groups, once accused Soros, who fled the Nazi occupation of Hungary, of being a Nazi collaborator. Gosar also claimed that the deadly 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville was engineered by the left and funded by Soros as a “false flag” operation.
Kicking Omar off the Foreign Affairs Committee is an act of appeasement to some powerful pro-Israel groups, as if American elected representatives have no right to criticize a foreign power with a demonstrably dismal human rights record. It’s also some consolation for the Republican bloc of the House of MAGA, which has been out for Omar’s blood since taking office in 2017 as the first Somali American in Congress and certainly the first representative to ever live in a Kenyan refugee camp.
And, of course, it is an act of all-too-predictable hypocrisy on the part of the new House Speaker who has sold his soul to the far-right faction of the House.
As usual, however, Omar was unbowed.
“My leadership and my voice will not be diminished,” she said on the floor of the House of Representatives. “When I’m not on this committee for a term, my voice gets louder and stronger and my leadership is celebrated around the world for what it was. So take your vote or not. I’m here to stay and I’m here to be a voice against harm around the world and speak up for a better world.”
After the vote Jeffries tweeted that he would “move immediately” to put Omar on the House Budget Committee.
There, he wrote, “she will defend democratic values against right-wing extremism.”
Certainly, given the House leadership’s fascination with the far right, her job is tailor-made for her.
https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2023-02-05/ilhan-omar-foreign-affairs-committee-antisemitism-kevin-mccarthy-paul-gosar-marjorie-taylor-greene Rep. Ilhan Omar got blitzed by payback and prejudice