House Democrats & Left Wing Groups Competing For Pinocchios on Ilhan Omar

With Omar’s existing record of antisemitic rhetoric and incitement before she was elected to Congress she should have never been on the prestigious House Foreign Affairs Committee in the first place.
January 25, 2023
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) attends a press conference on committee assignments for the 118th U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 25, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Anyone familiar with the Washington Post’s “Fact Checker,” is familiar with the newspaper’s grading system of awarding “Pinocchios” (to let its readers know whether a politician’s claims are honest, misleading, deceptive or outright falsehoods). The newspaper’s famed “Fact Checker” awards a “Geppetto Checkmark” for statements that are completely true; and grades other less completely honest statements on the Pinocchio scale, with “one Pinocchio” for statements that are “mostly true” and up to “four Pinocchios” for statements that are complete lies or what it calls “whoppers.”

After Republicans won the majority in the House last November, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said he was planning to remove Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from the prestigious House Foreign Relations Committee. Shortly thereafter, certain groups – who seem to put partisanship over fighting antisemitism – have been seemingly competing for Pinocchios with their claims to McCarthy and others about Ilhan Omar.

First, on December 12, 2022, a collection of organizations, claiming to object as “Jewish Americans,” sent to Speaker McCarthy an open letter setting forth their opposition to his plan to remove Omar from the House Foreign Relations Committee; based on what these groups claimed to be “false accusations that she [Omar] is antisemitic or anti-Israel.” These eight groups ranged from the far-left “Bend the Arc” and “Americans For Peace Now” and the self-described “moderate” and “pro-Israel,” but definitely very pro-Democrat J Street. All of these groups endorsed a statement that characterizing Ilhan Omar as being either antisemitic or even anti-Israel is somehow “false.”

To be clear, these groups do not speak for Jewish Americans. They speak for their organizations only. And, based on all relevant surveys and studies, they speak for a tiny minority of Jewish Americans who put political allegiances and political ideology above the urgent concern to fight Jew-hatred (regardless of party affiliation).

Moreover, any group that claims it is “false” to assert Omar is antisemitic and anti-Israel, is not only plainly placing partisan political considerations ahead of the concern for fighting Jew-hatred, they are promoting fiction over reality.

Joining this promotion of outright fiction (what the Washington Post would characterize as “4 Pinocchios”) are now many Democrats in Congress. According to a recent report in Politico, Democrats are “mobilizing” to defend Omar in order to try and keep her on the House Foreign Relations Committee; with Jewish House members like Debbie Wasserman Schultz shamefully claiming: “[t]here’s no reason to remove Congresswoman Omar from her committees except revenge …” and Jewish Congressman Dean Phillips saying he “doesn’t think” Omar “is antisemitic.”

Setting aside the lying or self-delusion about Omar’s hate for Israel and her antisemitism, the hypocrisy and raw partisanship here is clear. These same groups and Democratic politicians wholly supported Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green being removed from all of her committee assignments in Congress. They correctly condemned Taylor Green for how she leaned into antisemitic tropes with her conspiratorial references to the perennial Jewish “boogeyman” for antisemitic conspiracy theories (the “Rothschilds”) and for Taylor Green’s concerning calls for “Christian Nationalism.” Yet now, they are selling the fiction that Omar is not an antisemite in order to prevent McCarthy from removing her from the House Foreign Relations Committee. They want all people who care about fighting Jew-hatred to ignore the following actions and statements by Representative Omar:

  • On November 16, 2012, two days after Israel responded to Hamas (a US State Dept. recognized terrorist group), firing random long-range missiles and short range rockets at Israeli civilians, Omar tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.” This tweet indisputably used and promoted the age-old antisemitic conspiratorial myth about Jewish powers of hypnosis for use in sinister and duplicitous plots. An antisemitic trope, which has been used for literally thousands of years to incite and justify the persecution and murder of Jews.
  • In February of 2019 Representative Omar tweeted that American politicians’ support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins.” Indisputably leaning very hard into another age-old and dangerous trope about Jews uniquely and nefariously using money to control politicians and governments, as Representative Omar also made it clear that she doesn’t think American politicians support Israel because of the USA’s and Israel’s shared values and interests, but rather because of nefarious “Jewish money.”
  • Within 18 days of Representative Omar making her antisemitic “all about the Benjamins” tweet, she said — at an event held in a restaurant owned by a man who once claimed that the U.S. is “getting its marching orders from Tel Aviv” (echoing David Duke, another anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist) — “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.
  • After getting some pushback from some of her congressional colleagues for invoking yet another antisemitic slur, Representative Omar double-downed on her antisemitism, tweeting three days later: “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.”

In the past, the same organizations and Democratic members of Congress denying Omar’s antisemitism, correctly expressed concern when Republicans have referenced American Jews being “disloyal.” They have done so because they know that the “dual loyalty” or disloyalty trope about Jews can be traced back millennia and has been used for centuries, including in the all too recent past by Hitler and Stalin, as a justification for persecuting, rounding up and murdering Jews. Yet, when Representative Omar aggressively and repeatedly uses this same trope in reference to the one Jewish nation in the world and its supporters in America, not only does the proverbial cat have their collective tongue; they lie as obviously as Pinocchio about Omar’s plain and obvious antisemitism.

To exemplify how obvious this lie should be to anyone paying attention, after Omar’s unapologetic streak of using antisemitic tropes about alleged Jewish money and disloyalty back in 2019, KKK Grand Wizard and notorious white supremacist, David Duke, posted his open support for her, and asserted that “Ilhan Omar is NOW the most important Member of the US Congress!”

To add to Representative Omar’s antisemitic and anti-Israel (and frankly anti-American) bona fides, during her questioning of Secretary of State Blinken – on the very committee these groups and Congressional Democrats are fighting to keep her on – Omar compared Hamas to Israel and the Taliban to America and very clearly equated all four as morally equivalent.

Frankly, the fact that Representative Omar would use her position on the prestigious House Foreign Affairs Committee to assert there is a moral equivalence between the actions of the militaries of two democracies (which do everything they reasonably can to avoid civilian casualties while fighting terrorists) and Hamas and the Taliban, two openly Islamist supremacist terrorist groups (who are terrorizing their own people), is reason enough to remove Representative Omar from all committees in the House of Representatives, and in particular the Foreign Affairs Committee.

It should be crystal clear to anyone paying even remote attention to Ilhan Omar’s statements and tweets over the last 10 years that Ilhan Omar has a history of frequently using dangerous antisemitic tropes (which themselves have a long history of endangering Jewish lives and leading to increased Jew-hatred and antisemitic violence). Even more evident is that Omar has a long and clear history of inciting hatred and promoting sanctions against the only Jewish state in the world and the only democracy in the entire Middle East and North Africa; at the same time that she regularly advocates against sanctions being imposed on some of the most totalitarian and repressive regimes in the world (such as Venezuela and Iran).

Thus, when any group, organization or politician asserts that any allegations that Omar is antisemitic or anti-Israel are “false,” it is also crystal clear that they are spreading what the Washington Post “Fact Checker” calls “whoppers” and grades with “four Pinocchios.” It should also be clear that the interests of anyone who makes such a claim are partisan and political, and not fighting the dangerous Jew-hatred that is unfortunately dramatically increasing at this time in America.

With Omar’s existing record of antisemitic rhetoric and incitement before she was elected to Congress she should have never been on the prestigious House Foreign Affairs Committee in the first place. After she chose to double and then triple down on her use of antisemitic tropes about Jewish money and dual loyalty – Omar should have been immediately sanctioned and removed from all committee positions – just like what happened to Taylor Green (who – unlike Omar – made her most egregious comments before she was elected to Congress).

Instead of being consistent, or at least being honest, about their partisanship, certain groups and politicians are trying to sell to the American public the fanciful notion that Omar is not an antisemite. They are also effectively trying to sell the dangerous idea that being an antisemite should only have negative consequences if you are on one side of the political aisle. But if that notion is terrible when people try to excuse or give a pass to Republicans for being antisemitic or engaging in antisemitic tropes, then it has to be just as terrible when the antisemite is a Democrat. Otherwise, we are not fighting Jew-hatred, we are just playing politics.

Micha Danzig served in the Israeli Army and is a former police officer with the NYPD. He is currently an attorney and is very active with numerous Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, including Stand With Us and the FIDF, and is a national board member of Herut North America.

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