It’s weak tea if it only condemns anti-semitism generally instead of what she said specifically, but that’s okay. Omar will barf up another anti-semitic stereotype soon enough and then they’ll have to take real action against her. She’ll end up being kicked off the Foreign Affairs Committee, just not this week.
In fact, there’s a chance that Omar already would have lost her committee assignments if not for her unique biography. She’s not just a proud hijab-wearing Muslim, she’s a former refugee who came to America, learned English, went to school, and eventually got elected to Congress. She’s a smashing success story. They’re aching to showcase her as a contrast to Trump and Trumpism, not just in terms of how much better represented women and minorities of all kinds are by the Democratic caucus but as living proof that refugees can come here and live the American dream at the highest level. And she just will. not. make. it. easy. for. them. by laying off seedy insinuations about Jews.
Progressives are cutting her as much slack as they can, insisting simultaneously that she’s as American as any other citizen for most purposes but that, for purposes of this very niche issue, perhaps not quite as American as everyone due to her upbringing in Somalia, which means she shouldn’t be held to the same standards of sensitivity about Jewish stereotypes. That’s a neat double standard — but their patience isn’t limitless. Another untoward comment and she’s off the committee. Okay, two comments. Three, absolute tops. Depending on how bad they are.
The House will vote this week on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism prompted by comments made last week by Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, according to three people familiar with internal discussions.
Top Democrats are debating whether the resolution will specifically condemn Omar’s remarks, which include suggesting that supporters of Israel have an “allegiance to a foreign country,” or will only condemn anti-Semitism generally. But House leaders are prepared to put the measure on the floor quickly once a decision is made, according to the people familiar with the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss private deliberations. One said the vote will come as soon as Wednesday…
Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday asking for a congressional resolution rejecting anti-Semitism to “send the unambiguous message that the United States Congress is no place for hate.”
Eleven Jewish groups have already called for dumping her from Foreign Affairs. In the meantime a generic statement denouncing anti-semitism would be not just toothless but practically a gift to Omar: She’d vote for it, claiming that she never meant to impugn all Jews (just the ones who support Israel!), and would then point back to that vote any time in the future that she’s accused of anti-semitism. If Dem leaders want to put her on the spot, they should name her in the resolution. She’ll probably vote for that anyway and say that she’s now seen the error of her dual-loyalty charges and agrees that such things should be condemned, but at least it would embarrass her. And it’d be an obvious prelude to official sanction next time in a way that a generic resolution wouldn’t be.
This morning I asked what Omar’s constituents are getting out of having her in Congress, given that by turning the leadership against her she’s making it that much less likely that they’ll deliver for her district and risk encouraging her reelection. Tiana Lowe asks a related question: What do Democrats nationally get out of having Omar in a position of influence like the Foreign Affairs Committee?
I get why people like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
It’s objectively impressive that she beat out a Democratic stalwart and became the youngest woman ever elected to the House. After five years of Obamacare further consolidating the health insurance cartel and corroding consumer power, nearly a decade of Republicans promising they’d repeal and replace Obamacare the moment they took power, and two years of Republican power resulting in nothing serious, I understand why well-intentioned young people would gravitate toward the radicalism of “Medicare for all.”…
For all the fracas, what benefit has Omar given the Democratic Party? She’s currently riding on the coattails of Ocasio-Cortez while failing to provide any tangible policy benefit to the party. Omar has outright humiliated herself in public appearances, most notably during her questioning of Elliott Abrams in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She not only failed to address him by the proper name and employ correct pronunciation and enunciation, but she also advanced an aggressive narrative that was inaccurate and perhaps even anti-American.
The benefit she gives them is the diversity narrative I described above plus someone whom leadership can point to when progressives grumble anew that all of the Democratic voices in Congress are pro-Israel. “Not so,” they can say now. “Not only is Ilhan Omar here, we handed her a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.” It would overstate her appeal to them to say that they like the fact that she’s anti-Israel; it’s more the case that her anti-Israel views are useful to them in giving the base a voice on foreign policy, albeit a marginalized one. They’re lucky to have Rashida Tlaib as a back-up on that point if/when Omar finally is booted from Foreign Affairs. Tlaib can have Omar’s seat on the committee to advance the “one-state solution” or whatever.