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-   -   Anti-Semitism and the accusations agains Representative Ilhan Omar. (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=871829)

FlikTheBlue 03-05-2019 06:57 AM

Anti-Semitism and the accusations agains Representative Ilhan Omar.
 
The House Democrats are preparing a resolution on anti-Semitism following some statements made by Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota).

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/04/polit...mar/index.html

From what I've read, Representative Omar seems to be making the following argument.

1. American-Israeli groups / lobbyists donate to some lawmakers.

2. Those lawmakers support Israel.

3. Therefore those lawmakers (some of whom are Jewish) are taking money from and being influenced to support a foreign power.

She has called out this money flowing into American politics, including the now infamous "all about the Benjamins" tweet. This has led to charges of anti-Semitism against Representative Omar.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...=.46af9b27a1fd

Here's the debate. Are the things Representative Omar has said anti-Semitic, and if so why? IMHO the things she has said are not anti-Semitic. She has criticized some particular groups such as the Israeli government and American-Israeli lobbying organizations, but AFAICT has not said anything about Jews in general. The Israeli government and lobbyists working on their behalf ≠ Jewish people in general. I don't see criticism of other governments, even explicitly religious ones, leading to similar charges, including these examples.

1. Many people, including many Catholics, criticize the Pope and the Vatican without being labeled anti-Catholic. Although they do not lead nations, the religious leaders from many other demonations are similarly criticized without those doing the criticizing being labelled as bigoted against the denomination in question

2. Many people criticize many governments and world leaders from autocratic nations like Kim Jong Un, Nicolas Maduro, Raul Castro and their regimes, but they are not automatically labelled as being bigoted against Koreans, Venezuelans, or Cubans.

In other words, I don't get why Representative Omar is being attacked the way she is. What am I missing here?

asahi 03-05-2019 07:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlikTheBlue (Post 21520014)
The House Democrats are preparing a resolution on anti-Semitism following some statements made by Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota).

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/04/polit...mar/index.html

From what I've read, Representative Omar seems to be making the following argument.

1. American-Israeli groups / lobbyists donate to some lawmakers.

2. Those lawmakers support Israel.

3. Therefore those lawmakers (some of whom are Jewish) are taking money from and being influenced to support a foreign power.

She has called out this money flowing into American politics, including the now infamous "all about the Benjamins" tweet. This has led to charges of anti-Semitism against Representative Omar.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...=.46af9b27a1fd

Here's the debate. Are the things Representative Omar has said anti-Semitic, and if so why? IMHO the things she has said are not anti-Semitic. She has criticized some particular groups such as the Israeli government and American-Israeli lobbying organizations, but AFAICT has not said anything about Jews in general. The Israeli government and lobbyists working on their behalf ≠ Jewish people in general. I don't see criticism of other governments, even explicitly religious ones, leading to similar charges, including these examples.

1. Many people, including many Catholics, criticize the Pope and the Vatican without being labeled anti-Catholic. Although they do not lead nations, the religious leaders from many other demonations are similarly criticized without those doing the criticizing being labelled as bigoted against the denomination in question

2. Many people criticize many governments and world leaders from autocratic nations like Kim Jong Un, Nicolas Maduro, Raul Castro and their regimes, but they are not automatically labelled as being bigoted against Koreans, Venezuelans, or Cubans.

In other words, I don't get why Representative Omar is being attacked the way she is. What am I missing here?

The answer is obvious: she's a foreign-born, brown-skinned woman who wears a hijab.

FlikTheBlue 03-05-2019 07:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asahi (Post 21520021)
The answer is obvious: she's a foreign-born, brown-skinned woman who wears a hijab.

OK, now it's my turn to reveal some of my own bias. That explanation would fly if she was a member in a Republican led congress and being attacked by the likes of Steve King. The Democrats, however, should be better than that, and I'm disappointed at the behavior of Pelosi and crew regarding how they've handled the situation. I know the Democrats aren't perfect, but the side claiming to be the ones that aren't bigoted against any minorities should be better than this.

Left Hand of Dorkness 03-05-2019 07:09 AM

One question I have, and I genuinely don't know the answer: does the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have analogous organizations that promote the relationship between the US and other nations?

Is there some organization that's basically the American Spain Public Affairs Committee? The American Mexico Public Affairs Committee? The American South Africa Public Affairs Committee?

If so, do any of them have the staffing, budget, or political pull that AIPAC has?

If AIPAC is unique, either in existence or in reach, then it's fair to examine their influence. If they're not unique, then someone who zeroes in on them ought to have their motives examined.

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 07:16 AM

It's also fair to note how Netanyahu, and the Israel jingo lobby, have an effective tool to shout down any questioning of his government's actions - the accusation of antisemitism. It shouldn't, but does, need to be pointed out regularly that Jewry, Israel, and Likud are not synonyms.

Alessan 03-05-2019 07:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlikTheBlue (Post 21520014)
The House Democrats are preparing a resolution on anti-Semitism following some statements made by Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota).

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/04/polit...mar/index.html

From what I've read, Representative Omar seems to be making the following argument.

1. American-Israeli groups / lobbyists donate to some lawmakers.

2. Those lawmakers support Israel.

3. Therefore those lawmakers (some of whom are Jewish) are taking money from and being influenced to support a foreign power.

Except that's not entirely accurate.

First of all, the pro-Israel donors are Americans, not "American-Israeli". Just because someone happens to be Jewish and pro-Israel does not make them any less American. Besides, to the best of my knowledge, the Israeli government does not donate to American politicians.

Second of all, she hasn't accused them of supporting a (minor, local) foreign power; instead, she has accused them of “allegiance to a foreign country.” Support is one thing; allegiance is something completely different, which feeds into the classic antisemitic canard of dual loyalty. After all, an American can advocate that the U.S. support another country and still be a patriotic American, but own who gives "allegiance" - a claim that she does not support in any way - cannot.

And who she is has nothing to do with the fact that people are criticizing her - she'd get exactly as much heat if she were a white dude. In fact, I'm personally inclined to cut her some slack because of her background.

Alessan 03-05-2019 07:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness (Post 21520032)
One question I have, and I genuinely don't know the answer: does the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have analogous organizations that promote the relationship between the US and other nations?

Is there some organization that's basically the American Spain Public Affairs Committee? The American Mexico Public Affairs Committee? The American South Africa Public Affairs Committee?

If so, do any of them have the staffing, budget, or political pull that AIPAC has?

If AIPAC is unique, either in existence or in reach, then it's fair to examine their influence. If they're not unique, then someone who zeroes in on them ought to have their motives examined.

It's not as organized - and transparent - a body, but the Saudi Arabian lobby spends much more money in Washington than AIPAC.

iiandyiiii 03-05-2019 07:28 AM

By my reading and understanding, Omar has mixed some entirely reasonable criticism of Israeli govrenment policies and some US office-holders unquestioning support for these policies with some unfortunate anti-semitic tropes (like the "all about the Benjamins" and "allegiance to a foreign power" stuff). I think it's reasonable to criticize her for utilizing these anti-semitic tropes, even if it's unintentional.

I'm hopeful that she'll learn how to make these reasonable criticisms against Israeli policy, and the unquestioning support of that policy by some US politicians, while avoiding those anti-semitic tropes.

FlikTheBlue 03-05-2019 07:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alessan (Post 21520041)
Except that's not entirely accurate.

First of all, the pro-Israel donors are Americans, not "American-Israeli". Just because someone happens to be Jewish and pro-Israel does not make them any less American. Besides, to the best of my knowledge, the Israeli government does not donate to American politicians.

Second of all, she hasn't accused them of supporting a (minor, local) foreign power; instead, she has accused them of “allegiance to a foreign country.” Support is one thing; allegiance is something completely different, which feeds into the classic antisemitic canard of dual loyalty. After all, an American can advocate that the U.S. support another country and still be a patriotic American, but own who gives "allegiance" - a claim that she does not support in any way - cannot.

And who she is has nothing to do with the fact that people are criticizing her - she'd get exactly as much heat if she were a white dude. In fact, I'm personally inclined to cut her some slack because of her background.

Fair points. I should have been more precise by specifying Jewish Americans rather than Israeli-Americans. I admit to not being familiar with the whole allegiance to a foreign country being a classic antisemitic canard of dual loyalty. I'm familiar with it regarding Catholics and that it was a concern about Kennedy back when he was running for president in 1960, but had never heard this about Jewish people. Other than Israel since 1948, I wouldn't even be able guess which other nation a Jewish person would be accused of being loyal to. Does it go back far enough that the reference is to the ancient Kingdom of David?

BigT 03-05-2019 07:36 AM

What you leave out in calling Israel a "foreign power" is that they are an ally of the United States, not an enemy. "Foreign power" invokes the idea of a country working against US interests. But, if we're allies, we kinda have to try and work within the interests of both countries.

So treating this like a bad thing invokes a historical issue: that of claiming that people of Jewish descent have too much power in our government. She's even specifically referencing monetary power. She's just invoking all of the tropes against Jewish people.

It would be different if her argument was that we shouldn't be allied with Israel. There's no reason to bring up money and other trappings, or to imply Israel is a "foreign power" working against our interests, or that people of a Jewish decent have an allegiance to that foreign power. There's no reason for her to be touching the antisemitic tropes with 10-foot pole, but she keeps doing it.

And, seeing as the pro-Israel lobbyists are part of the coalition of the Democratic party, it's entirely understandable that the Democratic Party is wanting to do something to distance themselves from this person who is treating them like the enemy. It makes sense to reiterate that, while it's okay to not agree with Israel, it's not okay to be antisemitic. Because this new representative is starting the precedent of antisemitic adjacent rhetoric.

Her ethnicity is only relevant in that it is one that has traditionally been antisemitic. On its own, it means nothing. But, when someone keeps on invoking antisemitic tropes, one starts to wonder if it's because of her culture. At the very least, it seems to have not prepared her for the acceptable and unacceptable ways to voice disapproval with the US allyship with Israel--the way that doesn't come off as antisemitic.

asahi 03-05-2019 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21520056)
By my reading and understanding, Omar has mixed some entirely reasonable criticism of Israeli govrenment policies and some US office-holders unquestioning support for these policies with some unfortunate anti-semitic tropes (like the "all about the Benjamins" and "allegiance to a foreign power" stuff). I think it's reasonable to criticize her for utilizing these anti-semitic tropes, even if it's unintentional.

I'm hopeful that she'll learn how to make these reasonable criticisms against Israeli policy, and the unquestioning support of that policy by some US politicians, while avoiding those anti-semitic tropes.

I don't think "all about the Benjamins" is necessarily an anti-semitic trope, though - at least not in the context of what she said. She didn't necessarily single out Jews; she was responding to a comment made by Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who criticized US political leaders - Jewish or not - for their positions on Israel and on free speech rights, to which she responded "It's all about the Benjamins." By that she presumably meant that US politicians who support Israel do so because they get financial incentives to do so - but that's true of politicians who support other kinds of political interests. It's just woven into the mind of everyone that any remark like hers that is critical of Israel is inherently anti-Jewish, which actually speaks to how successful pro-Zionist groups have been in getting post-WWII guilt-laden Americans in conflating Israel and Judaism.

As I've said in other threads, though: she has to understand she is the last person who can say such a thing. Not just because she's a Muslim but because she's a foreign-born Muslim, and born in a country with a history of anti-US sentiment. It's not fair - she should theoretically have the same right to express herself as the rest of us, particularly given her commitment to public service. But sometimes optics matter, and this is one of those times. She can still criticize Israel but using Twitter to do it isn't the right approach, IMO

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 07:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigT (Post 21520068)
the acceptable and unacceptable ways to voice disapproval with the US allyship with Israel--the way that doesn't come off as antisemitic.

What do you think are the acceptable ones? :dubious:

Alessan 03-05-2019 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlikTheBlue (Post 21520064)
Fair points. I should have been more precise by specifying Jewish Americans rather than Israeli-Americans. I admit to not being familiar with the whole allegiance to a foreign country being a classic antisemitic canard of dual loyalty. I'm familiar with it regarding Catholics and that it was a concern about Kennedy back when he was running for president in 1960, but had never heard this about Jewish people. Other than Israel since 1948, I wouldn't even be able guess which other nation a Jewish person would be accused of being loyal to.

Really, it's not so much a matter of allegiance to foreign countries as it is lack of allegiance to their own countries. "Dual loyalty" is another way of saying "not fully loyal". Jews have always been accused of being loyal to themselves only, as traitors hiding among loyal patriots, ready to stab their country in the back in the name of "international Jewry". It's why Jews weren't allowed full citizenship anywhere in Europe until the 19th Century.

FlikTheBlue 03-05-2019 07:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asahi (Post 21520070)
I don't think "all about the Benjamins" is necessarily an anti-semitic trope, though - at least not in the context of what she said. She didn't necessarily single out Jews; she was responding to a comment made by Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who criticized US political leaders - Jewish or not - for their positions on Israel and on free speech rights, to which she responded "It's all about the Benjamins." By that she presumably meant that US politicians who support Israel do so because they get financial incentives to do so - but that's true of politicians who support other kinds of political interests. It's just woven into the mind of everyone that any remark like hers that is critical of Israel is inherently anti-Jewish, which actually speaks to how successful pro-Zionist groups have been in getting post-WWII guilt-laden Americans in conflating Israel and Judaism.

As I've said in other threads, though: she has to understand she is the last person who can say such a thing. Not just because she's a Muslim but because she's a foreign-born Muslim, and born in a country with a history of anti-US sentiment. It's not fair - she should theoretically have the same right to express herself as the rest of us, particularly given her commitment to public service. But sometimes optics matter, and this is one of those times. She can still criticize Israel but using Twitter to do it isn't the right approach, IMO

I thought the all about the Benjamins was meant to be more of a double entendre rather than specifically anti-Semitic, the obvious one being Franklin with the other being Netanyahu.

iiandyiiii 03-05-2019 07:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asahi (Post 21520070)
I don't think "all about the Benjamins" is necessarily an anti-semitic trope, though - at least not in the context of what she said. She didn't necessarily single out Jews; she was responding to a comment made by Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who criticized US political leaders - Jewish or not - for their positions on Israel and on free speech rights, to which she responded "It's all about the Benjamins." By that she presumably meant that US politicians who support Israel do so because they get financial incentives to do so - but that's true of politicians who support other kinds of political interests. It's just woven into the mind of everyone that any remark like hers that is critical of Israel is inherently anti-Jewish, which actually speaks to how successful pro-Zionist groups have been in getting post-WWII guilt-laden Americans in conflating Israel and Judaism.

As I've said in other threads, though: she has to understand she is the last person who can say such a thing. Not just because she's a Muslim but because she's a foreign-born Muslim, and born in a country with a history of anti-US sentiment. It's not fair - she should theoretically have the same right to express herself as the rest of us, particularly given her commitment to public service. But sometimes optics matter, and this is one of those times. She can still criticize Israel but using Twitter to do it isn't the right approach, IMO

She probably wasn't intending to utilize the trope of a Jewish conspiracy controlling money and using it to manipulate people, but just as there are words, references, and allusions that one should avoid using when criticizing a black person, the same goes for criticing a Jewish person (or Jewish organization), IMO. That doesn't mean that all the criticism against her is reasonable -- much or most of it is not. Especially those that criticized her for daring to question the US relationship and support for Israel. It's entirely reasonable to question our relationship with and support for Israel; it's not reasonable to utilize anti-semitic tropes (intentionally or not) when doing so.

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 08:16 AM

Please, people. "All About The Benjamins" has been standard slang at least since Puff Daddy's 1997 single, and of course refers to Franklin's portrait on the $100 bill. Even Weird Al did a version. To conclude the use of the term is antisemitic, you have to want to conclude it.

Ravenman 03-05-2019 08:16 AM

First of all, before declaring Rep. Omar innocent of all charges -- let's remember that she issued what I viewed as a sincere apology for her comments, IIRC the "all about the Benjamins." (I actually believe her apology was sincere, as opposed to Steve King's re: white nationalism.) So to assert that she did nothing wrong, when she quite specifically said she caused offense in a way that she regrets, is a non-starter.

Second, I will admit that this is conjecture, but based on the way she has talked about Israel, I get the feeling that she just doesn't know a whole lot about the subject of U.S.-Israeli relations. For example, her "benjamins" comment implies that AIPAC is giving large campaign contributions to politicians. The fact is that AIPAC does not. AIPAC spends tons on lobbying, which includes things like mobilizing their membership, big annual conventions in DC, organizing trips for lawmakers to Israel, and so on.

Further, it sounds like her perception of U.S.-Israeli relations could be shaped substantially by her family and community -- which I think isn't a stretch to say has a substantive objection to Israeli policies in general. This probably contributes to her admitted ignorance of harmful antisemitic tropes. So, it sounds to me like she has heard a lot of one side of the story, but very little of the other side. Which kind of makes a neat parallel to the lobbying efforts of AIPAC: they talk a lot about one side of the story, so lawmakers hear that side a lot; but the Palestinian side of things does not get a lot of currency. I think it's a problem if people are only hearing one side of story, period, no matter what the issue is.

I'm not exactly clear on what the resolution does, but I think its absolutely clear that Rep. Omar has definitely used antisemitic tropes in discussing U.S.-Israeli relations. I would generally say that I'm inclined to say that she has done so without understanding that her words could be taken as so offensive. Perhaps a rough equivalent may be the octogenarian who freely uses the word "Chinaman," because that's the term he's always used without meaning offense, or realizing how offensive it is to everyone else.

But why does this issue have such legs? Probably not because her comments are construed as an attack on our ally Israel, but because they are an attack on the integrity of her fellow lawmakers. She is effectively calling them people who are willing to change positions for campaign contributions and people whose patriotism is questionable and out to sale for the highest bidder. I can see how her fellow politicians would take umbrage.

iiandyiiii 03-05-2019 08:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves (Post 21520122)
Please, people. "All About The Benjamins" has been standard slang at least since Puff Daddy's 1997 single, and of course refers to Franklin's portrait on the $100 bill. Even Weird Al did a version. To conclude the use of the term is antisemitic, you have to want to conclude it.

The term isn't anti-semitic in a vacuum. When used flippantly about a Jewish organization, it's reasonable to criticize it. Not because of something inherent about the phrase, but because of the anti-semitic trope about Jewish control of money and usage of money to manipulate others. It'd be no different if she had used the phrase "it's all about the money".

EDIT: I don't think it was a big deal -- she gave a good apology for it. Reasonable to criticize her for it and reasonable for her to apologize. A little thing.

senoy 03-05-2019 08:46 AM

I think that it's reasonable to assume that she's anti-Semitic. She traffics in anti-Semitic stereotypes that are no different than the anti-immigrant and anti-racial minority tropes coming from the right. She apologizes for her 'benjamins' quote and then immediately within days in a completely tone deaf way brings up the 'divided loyalties trope' while saying that what she said the first time shouldn't really be considered anti-Semitic anyway. It's obvious that she's pretty bathed in anti-Semitic thought and at this point doesn't even realize that she's being anti-Semitic since in the middle of her apology she digs a deeper hole.

FlikTheBlue 03-05-2019 09:03 AM

ISTM that there are two separate but related issues. One is that yes, Rep. Omar has used language that is anti-Semitic. The other is that she has criticized the US - Israeli relationship. What prompted my post is that it seems to me that her critics are attacking her for the first issue and then using that attack to try to shut down debate on the second issue. It's the latter that Rep. Omar is fighting back about, and I agree that even if one critic of that relationship (herself) has used anti-Semitic language, that doesn't mean that US - Israeli relations should not be criticized or debated.

Velocity 03-05-2019 09:19 AM

What Elvis1Lives said. Some people use "anti-Semitism" as a way of shutting down valid criticism of Israel, as if criticizing Israel and hating on Jews are the same thing.

Ravenman 03-05-2019 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves (Post 21520122)
Please, people. "All About The Benjamins" has been standard slang at least since Puff Daddy's 1997 single, and of course refers to Franklin's portrait on the $100 bill. Even Weird Al did a version. To conclude the use of the term is antisemitic, you have to want to conclude it.

Which has literally fuck-all to do with anything. It's not the words that are antisemitic, it is the context. For example, if you tell your five year old kid, "You probably like watermelon, don't you?" there's nothing offensive with those words. If you say the same exact thing to an African-American, of COURSE it is offensive!

I contend that you want to conclude that Rep. Omar did nothing wrong.

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 09:37 AM

It makes no difference to declare the context off-limits instead of the words. It's an avoidance tactic either way.

iiandyiiii 03-05-2019 09:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlikTheBlue (Post 21520221)
ISTM that there are two separate but related issues. One is that yes, Rep. Omar has used language that is anti-Semitic. The other is that she has criticized the US - Israeli relationship. What prompted my post is that it seems to me that her critics are attacking her for the first issue and then using that attack to try to shut down debate on the second issue. It's the latter that Rep. Omar is fighting back about, and I agree that even if one critic of that relationship (herself) has used anti-Semitic language, that doesn't mean that US - Israeli relations should not be criticized or debated.

This is mostly in line with my thinking.

Royal Nonesutch 03-05-2019 09:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21520292)
For example, if you tell your five year old kid, "You probably like watermelon, don't you?" there's nothing offensive with those words. If you say the same exact thing to an African-American, of COURSE it is offensive!

What if your five year old kid is African-American?

Is it offensive then?

ITR champion 03-05-2019 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlikTheBlue (Post 21520064)
Fair points. I should have been more precise by specifying Jewish Americans rather than Israeli-Americans. I admit to not being familiar with the whole allegiance to a foreign country being a classic antisemitic canard of dual loyalty. I'm familiar with it regarding Catholics and that it was a concern about Kennedy back when he was running for president in 1960, but had never heard this about Jewish people. Other than Israel since 1948, I wouldn't even be able guess which other nation a Jewish person would be accused of being loyal to. Does it go back far enough that the reference is to the ancient Kingdom of David?

It definitely is an old, anti-semitic stereotype. This column on anti-semitism by Mark Steyn begins by mentioning an 18th century work of fiction set in a fictional kingdom, but to get the plot in motion, the author described laws that limited Jewish rights of property ownership. Such laws did really exist in many countries and were often justified on the grounds that it was just known that Jews could not be real citizens of any country because of their divided loyalty.

I would recommend reading Steyn's whole column, which was written after the Pttisburg massacre last fall, before the current kerfuffle with Ilhan Omar but certainly seems relevant to this thread. Since Jews began gathering in Israel in the 19th century, even before the official founding, it has been a nation of immigrants and refugees. Many were fleeing persecution and had no other place to go. So today we look around a see certain public figures like Omar or Jeremy Corbyn with a compulsive need to trash Israel but no similar need to go after real human rights abusers like China or Saudi Arabia, and no explanation ever given for that.

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ITR champion (Post 21520646)
So today we look around a see certain public figures like Omar or Jeremy Corbyn with a compulsive need to trash Israel

Wouldn't it be more helpful to address what they're saying instead of declaring it out of bounds, with or without the pop psychoanalysis?

enalzi 03-05-2019 12:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ITR champion (Post 21520646)
So today we look around a see certain public figures like Omar or Jeremy Corbyn with a compulsive need to trash Israel but no similar need to go after real human rights abusers like China or Saudi Arabia, and no explanation ever given for that.

This took me literally two seconds to Google:

"The Saudi government might have been strategic at covering up the daily atrocities carried out against minorities, women, activists and even the #YemenGenocide, but the murder of #JamaKhashoggi should be the last evil act they are allowed to commit. #BDSSaudi #murderedjournalist" - Ilhan Omar

WillFarnaby 03-05-2019 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves (Post 21520122)
Please, people. "All About The Benjamins" has been standard slang at least since Puff Daddy's 1997 single, and of course refers to Franklin's portrait on the $100 bill. Even Weird Al did a version. To conclude the use of the term is antisemitic, you have to want to conclude it.

Um you realize Jadakiss says “You should do what we do//Stack chips like Hebrews// don’t let the melody intrigue you// we only here for that green paper with the eagle” on that song.

Of course “Hebrew” was edited out not because of a conspiracy at all.

Left Hand of Dorkness 03-05-2019 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enalzi (Post 21520712)
This took me literally two seconds to Google:

"The Saudi government might have been strategic at covering up the daily atrocities carried out against minorities, women, activists and even the #YemenGenocide, but the murder of #JamaKhashoggi should be the last evil act they are allowed to commit. #BDSSaudi #murderedjournalist" - Ilhan Omar

Okay, but Jeremy Corbyn stays silent on China, right?
Quote:

Jeremy Corbyn will attempt to challenge the Chinese on their human rights record when he attends a state banquet to be held by the Queen for the country’s president, Xi Jinping, next week.
Okay, but he's never said anything about Saudi Arabia, right?
Quote:

Since becoming Labour leader, Corbyn has taken a strong stance on the raising of human rights abuses with other states, and successfully pressed David Cameron to drop a prisons deal with Saudi Arabia.
In all fairness, "Jeremy Corbyn China Human Rights" took me at least five seconds to Google.

Ravenman 03-05-2019 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves (Post 21520302)
It makes no difference to declare the context off-limits instead of the words. It's an avoidance tactic either way.

This is patently silly, and offensive.

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 01:14 PM

And that's another avoidance tactic. :rolleyes:

Shodan 03-05-2019 01:18 PM

I don't think it was anti-Semitic. If Omar's criticisms are valid, then they are valid even if other people are making the same criticisms for bigoted reasons. I don't think they are valid, but that is not currently the question.

I don't think it was wrong to accuse Jonathan Pollard of divided loyalties, because other people have accused other people of having divided loyalties. Some people do have divided loyalties, others don't - one needs to figure it out in each case, on its own, and not just rule it out ab initio.

Regards,
Shodan

DrDeth 03-05-2019 01:31 PM

She crossed the line at least once in using the term “allegiance to a foreign country.". The "All About The Benjamins" was a maybe, but taken in context, it also appears anti-semitic.

BobLibDem 03-05-2019 01:50 PM

Would it have been anti-Semitic if "all about the Benjamins" had been in reference to Congressmen taking cash from the NRA? If not, then why is pointing out the financial allegiance to the Israeli lobby offensive when pointing out the financial allegiance to other lobbies is not?

My two cents: if this had been a WASP making these comments, nobody would have gotten the vapors over it. But some want to use this to drum up anti-Muslim bigotry.

asahi 03-05-2019 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21520102)
She probably wasn't intending to utilize the trope of a Jewish conspiracy controlling money and using it to manipulate people, but just as there are words, references, and allusions that one should avoid using when criticizing a black person, the same goes for criticing a Jewish person (or Jewish organization), IMO. That doesn't mean that all the criticism against her is reasonable -- much or most of it is not. Especially those that criticized her for daring to question the US relationship and support for Israel. It's entirely reasonable to question our relationship with and support for Israel; it's not reasonable to utilize anti-semitic tropes (intentionally or not) when doing so.

I don't see how you can complain about the pro-Israeli lobby without bringing money into it. For the record and just so we're clear, Israel's not the only country that has interests, or that uses money to try to corrupt the American political system to further their interests. Obviously Russia and China do the same thing. Saudi Arabia does it too, obviously. A lot of countries do. She's not saying "Jews control the banks and the media" -- that's a trope. But saying that American politicians are easily influenced by Israeli money is not the same thing. It's as though some people are saying any comment that criticizes the pro-Israeli lobby's attempts to influence our system monetarily (among other things) is akin to making antisemitic remarks, and I just don't buy that and I think we're gullible as hell if we establish that as a precedent.

I personally think Omar probably does have strong biases against Israel, but that doesn't mean she can't make that kind of remark. I would nevertheless agree, however, that her own ethnicity makes it difficult, if not impossible, for her to make such remarks without inviting suspicion, which is why she should probably stay away from foreign policy and just focus on how Trump sucks at presidentin'. Even though I don't like the precedent it establishes in terms of criticism of Israel, I can't say I'm entirely against the idea of the Democratic party reining her in and taking away her microphone.

asahi 03-05-2019 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BobLibDem (Post 21520859)
Would it have been anti-Semitic if "all about the Benjamins" had been in reference to Congressmen taking cash from the NRA? If not, then why is pointing out the financial allegiance to the Israeli lobby offensive when pointing out the financial allegiance to other lobbies is not?

My two cents: if this had been a WASP making these comments, nobody would have gotten the vapors over it. But some want to use this to drum up anti-Muslim bigotry.

Oh I think there would still be controversy and calls for apologies, but with Omar, there's a much deeper level of suspicion to overcome, and fair or not, she needs to come to that realization - fast.

iiandyiiii 03-05-2019 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asahi (Post 21520874)
I don't see how you can complain about the pro-Israeli lobby without bringing money into it. For the record and just so we're clear, Israel's not the only country that has interests, or that uses money to try to corrupt the American political system to further their interests. Obviously Russia and China do the same thing. Saudi Arabia does it too, obviously. A lot of countries do. She's not saying "Jews control the banks and the media" -- that's a trope. But saying that American politicians are easily influenced by Israeli money is not the same thing. It's as though some people are saying any comment that criticizes the pro-Israeli lobby's attempts to influence our system monetarily (among other things) is akin to making antisemitic remarks, and I just don't buy that and I think we're gullible as hell if we establish that as a precedent.

If she made it a broad criticism on lobbying, then I don't think it would be problematic at all. But by singling out Israel, I think she's falling into that trap.

And apparently she agreed, because she made what appears to me to be a genuine and solid apology.

Ravenman 03-05-2019 02:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BobLibDem (Post 21520859)
Would it have been anti-Semitic if "all about the Benjamins" had been in reference to Congressmen taking cash from the NRA? If not, then why is pointing out the financial allegiance to the Israeli lobby offensive when pointing out the financial allegiance to other lobbies is not?

My two cents: if this had been a WASP making these comments, nobody would have gotten the vapors over it. But some want to use this to drum up anti-Muslim bigotry.

How about the fact that AIPAC isn’t giving dollars to candidates, unlike the NRA, so she’s factually wrong?

And do you assert that greedy Jews using money to manipulate people just isn’t a theme that has been used for hundreds of years to play on racist sentiments?

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 02:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asahi (Post 21520880)
with Omar, there's a much deeper level of suspicion to overcome

Hmm, yeah, why do you think that is?

Quote:

and fair or not, she needs to come to that realization - fast.
Does anyone else have any realizing to do?

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 02:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WillFarnaby (Post 21520720)
Um you realize Jadakiss says “You should do what we do//Stack chips like Hebrews// don’t let the melody intrigue you// we only here for that green paper with the eagle” on that song.

(A) Diddy had the hit, and (B) It's about wanting to get money. If you had any awareness at the time of Benjamin meaning Netanyahu instead of Franklin, do please enlighten us.

Quote:

Of course “Hebrew” was edited out not because of a conspiracy at all.
Please tell us more about this conspiracy idea.

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21520893)
How about the fact that AIPAC isn’t giving dollars to candidates, unlike the NRA, so she’s factually wrong?

Is it really that simple?
Quote:

Among the best-known critical works about AIPAC is The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer and Harvard University Kennedy School of Government professor Stephen Walt. In the working paper and resulting book, they accuse AIPAC of being "the most powerful and best known" component of a larger pro-Israel lobby that distorts American foreign policy. They write:

Quote:

AIPAC's success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it. ... AIPAC makes sure that its friends get strong financial support from the myriad pro-Israel PACs. Those seen as hostile to Israel, on the other hand, can be sure that AIPAC will direct campaign contributions to their political opponents.
Bolding added.
Quote:

And do you assert that greedy Jews using money to manipulate people just isn’t a theme that has been used for hundreds of years to play on racist sentiments?
Do you assert that any concerns about Likud's political operations in the US are racist, and so should be dismissed and denounced? It looks that way.

Jackmannii 03-05-2019 02:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigT
the acceptable and unacceptable ways to voice disapproval with the US allyship with Israel--the way that doesn't come off as antisemitic.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves (Post 21520073)
What do you think are the acceptable ones? :dubious:

A sample:

Acceptable (and a proposal I've made here): There should be a drastic curtailment of military aid to Israel by the U.S. unless Israel agrees to an indefinite halt to any settlement construction or building of additional housing units in territories likely to be negotiated as part of a Palestinian state, since such construction is regarded as a significant obstacle to peace.

Unacceptable: There should be a drastic curtailment of military aid to Israel by the U.S. unless Israel agrees to an indefinite halt to any settlement construction or building of additional housing units in territories likely to be negotiated as part of a Palestinian state, since such construction is regarded as a significant obstacle to peace. The reason such a measure hasn't been taken is because of U.S. citizens who owe allegiance to Israel as well as politicians bought by AIPAC and Israeli cash who won't allow it.

See? Not so hard.

Omar has crossed the line more than once. She gets cut no slack by me.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan
I don't think it was wrong to accuse Jonathan Pollard of divided loyalties

That slimy little traitor sold out his country for money and I suspect that if Israel had turned him down he would've happily sold secrets to the Russians.* In his case, it was all about the Benjamins.

*it came out that Pollard had passed classified information to South Africa and attempted to sell it to Pakistan.

snoe 03-05-2019 02:24 PM

For context, here's the context for what she said about "allegiance to a foreign country:"
Quote:

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. And I want to ask, why is it ok for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby that is influencing policy? [applause] And I want to ask the question, why is it ok for you to push, for you to be… there are so many people… I mean most of us are new, but many members of Congress have been there forever. Some of them have been there before we were born. So I know many of them were fighting for people to be free, for people to live in dignity in South Africa. I know many of them fight for people around the world to have dignity to have self-determination. So I know, I know that they care about these things.
But now that you have two Muslims that are saying “here is a group of people that we want to make sure that they have the dignity that you want everyone else to have!” …we get to be called names, we get to be labeled as hateful. No, we know what hate looks like. We experience it every single day.
It seems to me that
1) she's questioning why AIPAC "can't" be criticized when other lobbies can (this seems aimed at her fellow Democrats, given the lobbies she cites) and
2) drawing a contrast between how her (and Tlaib's) pro-Palestinian advocacy is treated versus how pro-Israel -- and other pro-human-rights -- advocacy is treated (this seems like a bipartisan critique).
All that said: I get why people sincerely dislike the way she's talked about this, and the pragmatic thing would be to find another way to talk about it, since that sincere dislike gets coopted by people looking for any reason to tar her (and her party) as anti-Semitic. You live with the consequences of what you say, and the fact that many of your critics are bigoted/acting in bad faith/whatever doesn't mean they're all that way.

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 02:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snoe (Post 21520928)
I get why people sincerely dislike the way she's talked about this, and the pragmatic thing would be to find another way to talk about it, since that sincere dislike gets coopted by people looking for any reason to tar her (and her party) as anti-Semitic.

That's going to happen anyway. Might as well forge ahead.

Quote:

You live with the consequences of what you say, and the fact that many of your critics are bigoted/acting in bad faith/whatever doesn't mean they're all that way.
Maybe not. But the ones who aren't are not very prominent.

DrDeth 03-05-2019 02:39 PM

If this was purely political, and not anti-semitic, we'd expect to find some muslim lawmaker supporting Israel and being anti-terrorist Palestine.

Is there such a thing? I have heard some Jewish politicians criticizing Israel , so that does happen. *

Omar supports "BDS": ie boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib questioned the loyalty of lawmakers who were pushing a bill that would protect states that penalize Israel boycotters.

*
https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.pre...arty-1.6960212
WASHINGTON - Two leading Jewish American members of Congress strongly criticized on Friday the political deal between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the far-right Otzma Yehudit party.

The condemnations from Capitol Hill came after three straight days of criticism from within the organized Jewish community, including a rare statement on the subject issued on Friday by AIPAC, the powerful lobby group supporting the Israeli government.

Rick Kitchen 03-05-2019 02:46 PM

The Nation article, written by Phyllis Bennis, who was there when Representative Omar made her comments, and who identifies as Jewish:
https://www.thenation.com/article/il...c-party-aipac/

Left Hand of Dorkness 03-05-2019 03:02 PM

Paul Waldman writes in the Washington Post:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Waldman
I’m going to try to bring some clarity to this issue, understanding how difficult it can be whenever we discuss anything that touches on Israel.

To be clear, I do this as someone who was raised in an intensely Zionist family with a long history of devotion and sacrifice for Israel, but who also — like many American Jews — has become increasingly dismayed not only by developments in Israel but by how we talk about it here in the United States.
...
Now, back to Omar. Here’s the truth: The whole purpose of the Democrats’ resolution is to enforce dual loyalty not among Jews, but among members of Congress, to make sure that criticism of Israel is punished in the most visible way possible. This, of course, includes Omar. As it happens, this punishment of criticism of Israel is exactly what the freshman congresswoman was complaining about, and has on multiple occasions. The fact that no one seems to acknowledge that this is her complaint shows how spectacularly disingenuous Omar’s critics are being.

You may have noticed that almost no one uses “dual loyalty” as a way of questioning whether Jews are loyal to the United States anymore. Why has it almost disappeared as an anti-Semitic slur? Because, over the last three decades, support for Israel has become increasingly associated with conservative evangelicals and the Republican Party.
...
In the United States today, a “supporter of Israel” is much more likely to be an evangelical Christian Republican than a Jew.
...
Dual loyalty is precisely what AIPAC demands, and what it gets. Again, it makes this demand not of Jews, but of every member of Congress, and even of politicians at the state level whom you wouldn’t think would be conducting foreign policy. And it is working.
...
When Gov. Greg Abbott (R) — also not a Jew — proclaims that “Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies,” he’s expressing his dual loyalty.

The whole article is worth reading, but I think the point he raises--that American Jews are less likely to support Israel's current government than are American Evangelical Christians, and that the charge of "dual loyalty" is more accurately (and in this case is) directed at the religious right than at Jews--is a pretty significant point.

MortSahlFan 03-05-2019 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asahi (Post 21520021)
The answer is obvious: she's a foreign-born, brown-skinned woman who wears a hijab.

Yes.. One group you can openly criticize (even the President), and then you have one group NO ONE can criticize.

Most Semites are Arab, but the term is nothing but a gimmick for the brainwashed sheep.

ElvisL1ves 03-05-2019 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jackmannii (Post 21520927)
Unacceptable: There should be a drastic curtailment of military aid to Israel by the U.S. unless Israel agrees to an indefinite halt to any settlement construction or building of additional housing units in territories likely to be negotiated as part of a Palestinian state, since such construction is regarded as a significant obstacle to peace. The reason such a measure hasn't been taken is because of U.S. citizens who owe allegiance to Israel as well as politicians bought by AIPAC and Israeli cash who won't allow it.

See? Not so hard.

Not to you, maybe. Can you tell us why it's "acceptable" to bring up a problem, while the possible reasons for it are off limits? You don't solve problems that way. Or, how about telling us just what constitutes off limits for you, and how those limits came to be defined?


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