Ilhan Omar on Jewish Dem colleagues: They haven't always been partners in justice

Omar’s tenure in Congress is an endless exercise in convincing liberals who’ve given her the benefit of the doubt in previous controversies that maybe she’s not as well-meaning as they thought. As an example, a reporter from the firmly left-wing site Raw Story watched the clip below yesterday and declared, “That’s it. I can’t defend her. I’m out. Her primary challenger will have my support next year.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, has also tread lightly with Omar in the past. Yesterday was different. Where does she get off accusing her colleagues, especially Jewish colleagues, of being less committed to “justice” than she is?

“Omar’s comments draw on classic antisemitic themes about Jewish clannishness, the notion that Jews only look out for themselves. They’re also plainly false,” Avi Mayer of the American Jewish Committee tweeted. “Jewish lawmakers have been on the front lines, fighting for human rights in America and globally.” Right, but when Omar refers to “seeking justice around the world,” she doesn’t mean fighting for human rights globally. She means supporting the Palestinians and Hamas against Israel, the cause that trumps all other international causes for leftists. If Omar cared about justice around the world in the abstract, she’d have more to say about China’s genocide of the Uighurs or domestic human-rights abuses by Islamic governments.

Remember that for all of her pretensions to being more enlightened about injustices abroad than the average legislator, she voted present on the House resolution condemning the Ottomans’ Armenian genocide. Her critique that her colleagues tend to be selective in which international abuses bother them and which don’t applies just as much to her, if not more so.

In keeping with tradition, she posted a damage-control statement after the fact to try to clean up the latest mess she made for her caucus, tweeting about Jewish contributions to the fight for black civil rights in America. That should shore up her credit with colleagues for awhile before the next controversy inevitably alienates a few more of them.

I’ll leave you with this recent exchange between Axios reporter Jonathan Swan and Imran Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan, as Omar’s comments about “seeking justice around the world” brought it to mind. Like her, Khan has a lot to say about western Islamophobia and curiously little to say about much more severe forms practiced elsewhere. Unlike Omar, though, I think Khan’s silence has been bought; his country’s strategic relationship with China is too important for him to say much publicly about the fate of the Uighurs. In Omar’s case, I think she’s simply too consumed with “colonialism” in Gaza to care much about concentration camps in Xinjiang.