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.
Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that! https://t.co/gglAS4FVJW— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 3, 2019
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!