On January 7th 2019, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D – Minnesota) became one of the first Muslim women and the first hijabi woman in Congress. As expected along with her fellow Muslim colleague Rashida Tlaib (D – Michigan), Omar has received strong criticism from the GOP and several right-wing personnel and media outlets. Some criticism has even come from within her own party and from Democrat-leaning media outlets. This should not come as a surprise, as Omar has been a big critic of AIPAC. AIPAC is an Israeli lobby in the U.S. and is by far the strongest lobbying organization within the U.S. political arena.
AIPAC and accusations of anti–semitism
In early February, Omar posted on Twitter a remark suggested that lobbying by AIPAC was the main reason behind the loyalty of American politicias to Israel. Following the tweet, Omar faced series of criticism both from Republicans and Democrats who labeled her comments as anti–Semitic, and she was forced to apologize.
Despite her apology, Omar’s tweets definitely sparked the beginning of a debate: why do American politicians support AIPAC and Israel so much? Some seem to support Israel more than their own country, one of example of which being Senator Marco Rubio (R – Florida) introducing a bill on banning businesses who support the BDS movement as first order of business in the new year of the Senate, instead of trying to find a solution to ending the government shutdown that was happening at the time.
AIPAC’s influence is exactly what Omar criticized. Calling Omar’s view anti–Semitic is not only inaccurate, it also does injustice to many American-Jews and other Americans whose priorities are put below that of Israel by American lawmakers.
AIPAC is Zionist organization, therefore opposing AIPAC is not anti– Semitic, but anti–Zionist.
It Seems Like you Have Forgotten 9/11
This past Friday, during the GOP Day of West Virginia, a sign was on display in the house of delegates of West Virginia. The sign depicted the World Trade Center in flames on 9/11 with the caption “You Said Never Forget”, and right below it, a picture of Ilhan Omar with the caption “I am the Proof, that You Have Forgotten!”
While the sign did receive criticism by some delegates from West Virginia, both the Democratic and Republicans leaderships including Members of Congress from both parties have remained largely quiet on this incident. Where are the objections of Islamophobia? If we are going to call Omar’s anti–Zionist comments anti-Semitic and go to extreme measures to ensure no one does this again, don’t we have to call this act as clearly an Islamophobic one?
This is not to mention the numerous threats to Omar from members of the public that have not seemed to raise an eyebrow.
Why We Need to Stand with Ilhan Omar
Islamophobic acts are not called out because lawmakers, media pundits, etc. clearly choose to pretend they are not happening, and neither is there an Muslim lobby akin to AIPAC that has so many individuals from Congress, the media, and research institutes on their payroll promoting their agenda.
That is precisely the reason why we need to stand with Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tliab and every single brave soul that calls out AIPAC, the injustice in Palestine, among other issues. We know AIPAC is powerful and we know they will make it their goal to silence Omar and push her aside until next election comes, when they will groom a candidate of their liking to take their money and keep quiet to challenge Omar for her seat.
We have to stand for Omar, to ensure that she will not be removed from her seat for her bravery. We need people like her in Washington D.C. who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, that is how change comes.
If we fail to stand with Omar and let AIPAC have their way, then what will happen to the next member of Congress who decides to stand up to some unjust issue, such as police brutality? Or the negligence of the environment?
It is time that we show the establishment that they are working for the people, not Israel and not corporate interests. #IStandWithIlhan.