We are all Ilhan's side-eye

Ilhan Omar

I have avoided commenting on controversies from a Jewish perspective since I became a Muslim in 2010. I just didn't feel like my opinion would count as a Jew anymore. However last night I found myself having a discussion over dinner with Phil, atheist Jew, about the attacks on Ilhan Omar and the definition of antisemitism. We were both in agreement that criticism of Israel is not antisemitic. He is an anthropologist and has been doing research into Jewish influence in Hollywood and the media. But for some reason, if you talk about Jewish influence in Hollywood, media, and politics, it's considered antisemitic. Why ? We couldn't come up with a concrete definition although he offered up that attacking a synagogue and killing 11 people like what happened in Pittsburg is antisemitic. Can't argue with that.

Then I had an epiphany. He doesn't follow the religion of Judaism, anymore than I do. Yet he would still be considered a Jew and I am not. That's weird, isn't it ? Then I thought, well maybe if his opinion counts as a Jew, then my opinion counts as well. Both of our ancestral Jewish towns in Russia were wiped out by Nazis and neither of us practice Judaism so we're in some similar category anyhow. Maybe it doesn't really matter though whose opinion has more weight in this debate...

I am thrilled to see Ilhan Omar standing up to the Israel lobby. I often wonder if the Israel-pandering Democrats saw for themselves the conditions Palestinians are faced with every day, could they still look at themselves in the mirror while soliciting the Zionist lobby for validation and campaign support ? I have a hard time believing that at this point, even if these Democrats have not visited and seen Palestine themselves, that they don't know what's going on.  You can't NOT know what's going on anymore, there's no excuse. If this is the case, and they are choosing to look the other way, then they have sold their souls to the Zionist lobby. If you're a lawmaker who sacrifices your values for the sake of support from the Zionist lobby, well I'd say that's dual loyalty and you don't even have to be Jewish ! (Some people might refer to that kind of behavior in much more vulgar terms.) Some of these Democrats are virtue signaling their loyalty towards the Jewish state by jumping over one another to condemn fellow Democratic party member Ilhan Omar. Would these Democratic Zionists' reactions be any different if it was Bernie Sanders saying the same things that Ilhan is ? I wonder.

The dictionary definition of antisemitism is:

hostility to or prejudice against Jews.

The particular quotes from Ilhan that are in question are not hostile to or prejudice against Jews at all.

 

 

When I read Ilhan's whole thread, and saw see all the media coverage and pearl clutching over it, and then I think about the synagogue shooting in Pittsburg, I have to conclude that this is some kind of groupthink pile-on going on. We have to be very mindful of groupthink. 

This brings me back to my initial questions, why is discussing Jewish influence in Hollywood, media, or in this case politics, considered antisemitic by some people? We have seen people from the Israel Lobby admit to how they influence lawmakers to become supportive of their agenda making this topic is quite literally the elephant or the donkey in the room.

We are all Ilhan Omar's side-eye. #IStandwithIlhan

What do you think ? Share your comments below!

We are all Ilhan's side-eye

Ilhan Omar

I have avoided commenting on controversies from a Jewish perspective since I became a Muslim in 2010. I just didn't feel like my opinion would count as a Jew anymore. However last night I found myself having a discussion over dinner with Phil, atheist Jew, about the attacks on Ilhan Omar and the definition of antisemitism. We were both in agreement that criticism of Israel is not antisemitic. He is an anthropologist and has been doing research into Jewish influence in Hollywood and the media. But for some reason, if you talk about Jewish influence in Hollywood, media, and politics, it's considered antisemitic. Why ? We couldn't come up with a concrete definition although he offered up that attacking a synagogue and killing 11 people like what happened in Pittsburg is antisemitic. Can't argue with that.

Then I had an epiphany. He doesn't follow the religion of Judaism, anymore than I do. Yet he would still be considered a Jew and I am not. That's weird, isn't it ? Then I thought, well maybe if his opinion counts as a Jew, then my opinion counts as well. Both of our ancestral Jewish towns in Russia were wiped out by Nazis and neither of us practice Judaism so we're in some similar category anyhow. Maybe it doesn't really matter though whose opinion has more weight in this debate...

I am thrilled to see Ilhan Omar standing up to the Israel lobby. I often wonder if the Israel-pandering Democrats saw for themselves the conditions Palestinians are faced with every day, could they still look at themselves in the mirror while soliciting the Zionist lobby for validation and campaign support ? I have a hard time believing that at this point, even if these Democrats have not visited and seen Palestine themselves, that they don't know what's going on.  You can't NOT know what's going on anymore, there's no excuse. If this is the case, and they are choosing to look the other way, then they have sold their souls to the Zionist lobby. If you're a lawmaker who sacrifices your values for the sake of support from the Zionist lobby, well I'd say that's dual loyalty and you don't even have to be Jewish ! (Some people might refer to that kind of behavior in much more vulgar terms.) Some of these Democrats are virtue signaling their loyalty towards the Jewish state by jumping over one another to condemn fellow Democratic party member Ilhan Omar. Would these Democratic Zionists' reactions be any different if it was Bernie Sanders saying the same things that Ilhan is ? I wonder.

The dictionary definition of antisemitism is:

hostility to or prejudice against Jews.

The particular quotes from Ilhan that are in question are not hostile to or prejudice against Jews at all.

 

 

When I read Ilhan's whole thread, and saw see all the media coverage and pearl clutching over it, and then I think about the synagogue shooting in Pittsburg, I have to conclude that this is some kind of groupthink pile-on going on. We have to be very mindful of groupthink. 

This brings me back to my initial questions, why is discussing Jewish influence in Hollywood, media, or in this case politics, considered antisemitic by some people? We have seen people from the Israel Lobby admit to how they influence lawmakers to become supportive of their agenda making this topic is quite literally the elephant or the donkey in the room.

We are all Ilhan Omar's side-eye. #IStandwithIlhan

What do you think ? Share your comments below!



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12 comments

  • I believe the murderer of those people in the Pittsburgh Synagogue stated that his inability to be heard due to total censorship of his opinions on social media was the impetus for his actions.

    Joe Casey
  • I am sorry what I feel despicable about you is that you make money through your art on Palestinian misery, I am sorry amongst all your dogoodism that is how you portray yourself—-to even mention that Palestinian key, which is liberation is through Washington, is shameful given the U.S. shameful history in Palestine and the Middle East at the whole. You are no anti-imperialist and your art shows the lack of such. You are no Carlos Latuff he has soul, yours is wet, absolutely wet and disingenuous.

    Diane Shammas
  • Every subculture in the US has contributed to “American culture”. It would be helpful to recognize the unique and powerful contributions by Jewish persons and culture, both positive and problematic. “Over-representation” in particular areas of leadership, including politics, civil administration and finance, are confusing, even suspect, to the general public in a supposed democracy. Whether that preponderance of influence contributes to the “common good”, or not, is a legitimate concern. People of conscience will always work toward ethical human relationships and avoid all forms of anti-social “groupthink” that leads toward harmful, unhealthy behavior. Clarifying and preventing ABUSES OF POWER is essential and on-going. Too many of us, apparently, lack a sense of the universal greater good, which encourages wisdom and compassion in cultural leadership. we should be very grateful to those who help us find our way out of conflict, violence, ignorance, confusion and self-destruction.

    JoAnne
  • I want to comment on what Katie said about our discussion of Jews and anti-Semitism over dinner recently. I do consider myself a Jew although I find religious beliefs of any kind meaningless. I am only interested in religion insofar as it impacts people’s behavior for good or ill. But for me being Jewish is more than just its religious practices, but includes other cultural elements, especially certain values we internalize as part of our upbringing. One that I still cherish is a concern with social justice. In fact I believe that Jews have made enormous contribution to its furtherance in this country. It is the violation of social justice perpetuated by the Israeli government that so offends me and leads me to support organizations like the Jewish Voice for Peace and the BDS movement. To call this anti-Semitic is absurd. In my view there is nothing anti-Semitic in the recent comments made by Ilhan Omar or my support for the BDS movement.
    Katie mischaracterized the research I am doing. The focus is not Jewish influence in Hollywood or the media. It is concerned more generally with the impact of East European Jews on American culture since the early 20th Century, both positive and what some would consider negative. When asked at dinner what would be examples of the negative, the first thing that came to mind was the preponderance of Jews in the entertainment industries, especially Hollywood with its fascination with violent films and the television networks with much of its insipid programming. In fact, in the data I have been collecting many East European Jews have had what can only be considered an enormously positive influence on the intellectual, scientific, and progressive political life in this country, and in numbers far beyond the miniscule proportion they represent in the total population (somewhere between two and three percent).

    Phil Silverman
  • There is out-rage at the truths Ilhan Omar has the courage to speak – where is the out-rage at the deaths of over 200 unarmed Palestinians shot in cold blood by Israeli sharp-shooters? Anne Bowers

    Anne Bowers

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