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Old 03-05-2019, 07:57 AM
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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?
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:02 AM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:09 AM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 04:04 PM
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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.

Last edited by MortSahlFan; 03-05-2019 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:09 AM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:21 AM
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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.
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:31 PM
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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.
OpenSecrets.org tracks single-issue campaign contributions and pro-Israel is the only nation-based category. I infer that other foreign interest campaign donations are quite small or wrapped up in other categories like trade perhaps.
https://www.opensecrets.org/industri....php?ind=Q05++

But, to the extent that she was talking about AIPAC, Omar's statement is factually incorrect. On the one hand pro-Israel lobbying expenditures are increasing, and AIPAC is by far the biggest pro-Israel lobbyist ($5 Million in 2017 I think). On the other hand, AIPAC doesn't contribute directly to candidates, which is what I inferred from her remark.

The big offense that brought out all the howling, is that she’s embarrassing congress by calling out the political contributions that attempt to influence relations with a foreign power. Browsing around OpenSecrets.org we note that $4.25 million in campaign contributions were single-issue pro-gun, $6.25 million were for environmental issues, and nearly 15 million are pro-Israel contributions. It’s also possible to drill down by recipients, where we see that Democrats are the big beneficiaries of pro-Israel funds.

So yeah, Omar may well be anti-semitic, but she's got a point -- pro-Israel campaign contributions almost 4 times pro-gun contributions!!! and IIRC they approach 8 x anti-abortion campaign contributions. Support for Israel is a great way to fund a campaign.
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:03 PM
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Browsing around OpenSecrets.org we note that $4.25 million in campaign contributions were single-issue pro-gun, $6.25 million were for environmental issues, and nearly 15 million are pro-Israel contributions. It’s also possible to drill down by recipients, where we see that Democrats are the big beneficiaries of pro-Israel funds.
30 percent of the so-called pro-Israel money is from J Street, which wants to change U.S. foreign policy, towards Israel, in a leftist direction.

I haven't tried to check the political slant of the other pro-Israel contributors cited by opensecrets.org, but the fact they they generally donate to Democrats at a time when the ruling party of Israel is, to my distress, rather strongly associated with the Republican party in the U.S., tells me that pro-Israel, at OpenSecrets.org, doesn't mean pro-Israel-foreign-and-military-policy.

This isn't an attack on OpenSecrets! It would be unreasonable for them to try to categorize that long list of pro-Israel contributors because they have a range of views, right to left.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:16 AM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:46 PM
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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.
That’s how weaponized language is supposed to work.
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Old 03-07-2019, 05:09 PM
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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.
to show how language gets highjacked, Arabs are semitic just like Jews, so how can she be "anti-Semitic? Anti-Israel is not same as anti-Semitic, even though Israel and American Jews throw that around loosely
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:16 AM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:33 AM
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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?

Last edited by FlikTheBlue; 03-05-2019 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:40 AM
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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.

Last edited by Alessan; 03-05-2019 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 03-07-2019, 06:01 PM
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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.
did American Jews criticize Israel when they massacred American sailors on USS Liberty? Did they criticize Israel when a Hasidic Jew murdered 2 innocent Black kids in Crown Heights and ran away to Israel? Did they criticize Israel when our so-called ally defied US sanctions and sold arms to aparteit South Africa?
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:17 PM
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These senators want to make it illegal to organize boycotts against Israel. So many people on this board think it's perfectly fine to destroy a small business because the owners hold a belief contrary to theirs. Actions have consequences don't you know? It's free speech. I guess free speech is not allowed for critics of Israel.

https://www.cardin.senate.gov/newsro...ti-boycott-act
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:26 AM
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did American Jews criticize Israel when they massacred American sailors on USS Liberty? Did they criticize Israel when a Hasidic Jew murdered 2 innocent Black kids in Crown Heights and ran away to Israel? Did they criticize Israel when our so-called ally defied US sanctions and sold arms to aparteit South Africa?
As Alessan will attest, I'm not a blind lover of Israel, but sorry, this post is just crap. Military accidents happen -- the US shot down an Iranian passenger jet. And what the hell does the murder of black children in America have to do with foreign policy? Find better examples, or look dumb.
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Old 03-10-2019, 05:12 AM
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did American Jews criticize Israel when they massacred American sailors on USS Liberty?
I don't know, did they? And does any serious person think the Israeli military willfully and knowingly targeted an American ship?

And did American Christians and American atheists criticize the U.S. when it downed Iran Air Flight 655? I may have forgotten to do so; let me do so now.
The U.S. also killed nine British soldiers during the Gulf War; will you denounce that, fedman?
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Old 03-05-2019, 01:21 PM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 01:28 PM
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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?
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Old 03-05-2019, 07:07 PM
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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?
Arguments about wicked Jews pulling the strings of world politics with their money, or having dual loyalty, are generally not worth refuting, for the same reason as anti-vaccine conspiracies or holocaust denial. People who push those arguments won't listen to reason and even engaging with it makes you feel slightly dirty.

But in any case, it's already been pointed out that AIPAC does not actually give much in the way of campaign donations. There is no evidence that anyone in Congress has switched their position to pro-Israel based on a financial donation, or that anybody on this issue is in any way lacking loyalty to the US because of their Jewishness. None. So what's to be addressed?

Let's look at it this way. She implied that the only reason anyone would support Israel is because of the money. Well, I know much better reasons for supporting Israel. (1) Because Israel is a nation founded as a homeland for refugees and immigrants driven from other countries by violence and prejudice. (2) Because Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has maintained a robust democracy for the past 70 years, and has defended western values such as women's rights and freedom of religion. (3) Because Israel has persevered through almost constant warfare and terrorism from some of its neighbors. (4) Because throughout all that warfare, Israel tries as hard as possible to minimize civilian casualties, while Hamas and friends instead aim for mass slaughter of any Jews that they can kill.

Heck, what reason is there why any civilized person wouldn't want Israel to prevail in its conflict against Islamic terrorist groups?
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Old 03-05-2019, 01:49 PM
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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
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Old 03-05-2019, 01:53 PM
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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.
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Old 03-07-2019, 05:14 PM
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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.
remember the Pollard spy case? The number of American Jews stealing secrets? Israel criticizing Andrew Young for meeting with Palestinians, like they control our politics?
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:28 AM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:37 AM
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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

Last edited by asahi; 03-05-2019 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:48 AM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:16 AM
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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.
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:24 AM
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In other words, I don't get why Representative Omar is being attacked the way she is. What am I missing here?
I started an IMHO thread in agreement with you.

It's a meme that Trump and the GOP are imbecilic (despite that Trump, Hannity, Ryan etc. probably all have 3-digit IQs). If I write that a Republican initiative is "stupid", is that politically incorrect because it plays to the stereotype of GOP imbecility?

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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." ... 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.
One needs to choose one's battles wisely. She realized that her remarks gave some offense, and apologized so that the conversation could move on. Presumably she'll be less flippant in future. But to treat her apology as sincere shame is to misunderstand pragmatism in communication.

Because of their long-time persecutions, especially the Holocaust, I think Jewish sensitivities should be especially respected. But often political correctness becomes absurd. A few years ago there was a thread in BBQ Pit related to the statistical fact that for many decades a large portion of Hollywood studio heads were Jewish. In California, Cambodians often operate doughnut shops; Indians often operate motels; Japanese used to operate plant nurseries. Why did Jews end up operating Hollywood studios? It seemed like an interesting question without any need for "judgment."

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The following people were all raised as Jews.

Sumner Murray Redstone (né Rothstein), magnate of CBS-Viacom
Jack and Sam Warner, founders of Warner Bros.
Samuel Goldwyn (né Szmuel Gelbfisz)
David Geffen, cofounder of Drreamworks SKG
Steven Spielberg, cofounder of Drreamworks SKG
Jeffrey Katzenberg, cofounder of Drreamworks SKG
Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney
Bob and Harvey Weinstein, founders of Miramax
Joseph M. Schenck, co-founder of 20th Century Pictures
William Fox (né Fried), founder of Fox Films
Adolph Zukor, founder of Paramount
Jesse L. Lasky, co-founder of Paramount
Marcus Loew, founder of MGM
Louis B. Mayer (né Lazar Meir), founder of Mayer Pictures (later MGM)
David O. Selznick, producer of Gone with the Wind
Joel and Ethan Coen, producers of Fargo
Sherry Lansing (née Duhl), CEO of Paramount etc.

I was startled! Almost every click led to "Jewish." The only clicks that didn't were for Darryl F. Zanuck and Cecil B. DeMille; the latter had a Jewish mother.

I draw no inference. But watching the Board pretend Hollywood is not "dominated by Jews" is amusing. [my new emphasis]
I was pounced on from every direction, beginning with

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Huh. I didn't realize that around a dozen and a half people (some of whom are dead) made every decision in Hollywood.
And then Dopers acted dopey by not seeming to understand that those who founded the big studios almost a century ago would be VERY old now:
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Apparently dead people can do amazing things! I wonder what else they can do? Cartwheels? Space travel? Mind control?
Ooookay.
  #30  
Old 03-05-2019, 08:58 AM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 02:57 PM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 03:00 PM
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:36 AM
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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.

Last edited by BigT; 03-05-2019 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:38 AM
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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?
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Old 03-05-2019, 03:23 PM
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the acceptable and unacceptable ways to voice disapproval with the US allyship with Israel--the way that doesn't come off as antisemitic.
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What do you think are the acceptable ones?
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.
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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.
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Old 03-05-2019, 04:11 PM
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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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Old 03-05-2019, 09:32 PM
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Here's the bottom line. Nothing Omar said was an attack on Jews. Nothing she said was threatening to Jews, whether we're talking about global Jewry or Jews in America. Her comments were completely in the context of the American-Israeli political nexus and nothing more. There's not a single person here who seriously argue otherwise, and there's not a single person reading this who believes that her comments in and of themselves are antisemitic. They simply believe that Omar is antisemitic because of her ethnicity. And this speaks to the degree to which Americans have been brainwashed into believing Israel = Jew, and Jew = Israel. Therefore, criticizing Israeli political influence = criticizing American Jewishness.

Seriously, why do so many Americans give a toss about Israel? I mean I care about England and Germany, like a little, because of my ancestry, but I'm not going to defend English or German attempts to influence American politics. Why does Israel matter? Why is America so concerned with Israel's "right to exist"?
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Old 03-07-2019, 11:30 PM
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Are Jew a Minority? Is there a history of Jew hatred and oppression, and does it still exist?


-Jewish Americans are roughly 1.4% of US population, or about 10% of the African Americans population. They are not called a minority only because they have been statistically successful.

-Jews have been the objects of hatred and oppression by the two dominant Western Reglions and their followers over the last two millennia. There is no reading of the history of Israel which does not involve the modern racial hatred of Jew in the West.

-Criticism of Israel is not anti-semitic. Talking about Israel, the only national home for Jews, as an illgetimate entity that has no right to exist, that is uniquely hateful in its oppression of the local Arab population is expressive of the long history of Jew hatred.

The American congresswoman is either ignorant of that history, or a particpant in it. She has certainly been well informed by now.

If white Americans were invoking the old charnges of the racial hatred of blacks or demonizing black nations, the Democrats, and all liberals, and many American of every political persuasion, would assume the person was a racist. Perhaps they would accept an apology once? It's now been twice. At a certain point in the future, no apology will suffice.

I really don't have an opionion on the Congresswoman. Let's see how many more ignorant things she says.

That most people can't understand what all the fuss is about, all she did was criticize a nation for its (in my opinion) unjustifiable politicies, does not surpse me in the least. Blacks are used to this. Jews are used to this. It comes with being a small minority. Most whites can admit to racism all they want, they fundamentally don't get it. Same thing with most non Jews about anti-Semitism. Much of it is innocent in the way we all are. Some of it most certainly is not.
  #39  
Old 03-05-2019, 04:14 PM
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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....
Many times, Israel has offered to do this if Palestine would stop with terrorist attacks. Until and when Palestine stops with the state sanctioned terrorism, I feel Israel can do anything they want.
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:30 PM
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Many times, Israel has offered to do this if Palestine would stop with terrorist attacks. Until and when Palestine stops with the state sanctioned terrorism, I feel Israel can do anything they want.
Three cheers for collective blame!
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:16 PM
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Many times, Israel has offered to do this if Palestine would stop with terrorist attacks. Until and when Palestine stops with the state sanctioned terrorism, I feel Israel can do anything they want.
It's not "Palestine" attacking Israel -- it's a faction within "Palestine" that is attacking Israel.

What Israel is doing is saying that collective punishment is acceptable because they're God's chosen ones and they're victims of the holocaust. Ironically, the lesson of the post-WWII era (4th Geneva Convention, to be exact) is that the civilized world made a concerted effort to say that collective punishment was against the laws of humanity.

Mind you, I don't believe all Israelis endorse or embrace Netanyahu and Likudism.

Last edited by asahi; 03-05-2019 at 09:17 PM.
  #42  
Old 03-06-2019, 12:05 AM
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Not about Jews, but yes about the Government of Israel. I dunno what Netanyahu has to do with the millions of Jews here in the USA, from what I see, he's pretty unpopular here.

Note my comments: "All Palestine has to do..." "if Palestine would stop with terrorist attacks" and "Until and when Palestine stops with the state sanctioned terrorism, ...": I am blaming the state of Palestine, and the people who support it.

I am sure numerous Palestinians dont support the terrorism. But the government does.
And Ilhan Omar was talking about the government of Israel, not Jews as a people, but that didn't stop you from calling her anti-semetic.

Interesting how you expect your words with a charity you don't extend to other people.

Last edited by Miller; 03-06-2019 at 12:05 AM.
  #43  
Old 03-05-2019, 04:27 PM
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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.
How about this, changing the parts I underlined:


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 support Israel because of their evangelical faith, as well as politicians unduly influenced by AIPAC and its conservative followers, who won't allow such curtailment.

As Waldman points out, AIPAC has very strong support among US conservative Christians, for complicated reasons.
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:11 AM
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How about this, changing the parts I underlined:


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 support Israel because of their evangelical faith, as well as politicians unduly influenced by AIPAC and its conservative followers, who won't allow such curtailment.

As Waldman points out, AIPAC has very strong support among US conservative Christians, for complicated reasons.
I think you are overlooking substantial support for Israel in the U.S. that does not come from either of those two groups.

Many times people blame lobbying groups for "undue influence", ignoring the fact that a major reason for their influence is that their views are substantially represented in the general population.*

*one wonders why opposing lobbying groups which are often very well funded seem unable to counter this "undue influence", whether it applies to Israel, gun laws, Social Security etc.
Could it be that these other Unduly Influential lobby groups also have substantial support among Americans as a whole?
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Old 03-05-2019, 04:42 PM
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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.
My point is that it is OK IMO to say "it's all about the Benjamins" in Pollard's case even though he's Jewish. A Jewish guy who sells out his country for money is acting out a Jewish stereotype. But selling out your country is still worthy of criticism.

A criticism is valid if it's true, even if others make it falsely.

Omar's criticism is not valid IMO, but it is not anti-Semitic for that reason.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 03-08-2019, 01:23 AM
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My point is that it is OK IMO to say "it's all about the Benjamins" in Pollard's case even though he's Jewish. A Jewish guy who sells out his country for money is acting out a Jewish stereotype. But selling out your country is still worthy of criticism.

A criticism is valid if it's true, even if others make it falsely.

Omar's criticism is not valid IMO, but it is not anti-Semitic for that reason.

Regards,
Shodan
I agree. Further, although the left is guilty of this type of attribution all of the time, our side shouldn't do it just because we have this chance. I known that labeling people as racist, bigoted, or anti-semetic is the new fashion, but it does nothing for reasoned debate.

I support Israel, but if someone wants to say that they are a powerful lobby spending money to curry favor with some of our politicians, then let's look at that issue and have that debate instead of just hurling insults at people.
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Old 03-07-2019, 05:18 PM
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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.
really?? There is evidence that Israel sold US secrets to Russia after independence in exchange for Russian Jews exit
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:16 AM
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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.
  #49  
Old 03-05-2019, 09:23 AM
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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.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 03-05-2019 at 09:28 AM.
  #50  
Old 03-05-2019, 10:32 AM
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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.
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