Hold on there


As Bugs Bunny would have said: “Just one cotton-picking moment!” Newly elected Democrat congresswoman Ilham Omar has been damned for anti-Semitism and forced to apologize for two social media messages. Her “crime” was to write that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was using its financial and lobbying muscle to influence US politicians in support of Israel.

It has long been a fact of Washington political life that major lobbying groups, such as the National Rifle Association and those representing defense contractors, accountants and bankers, have played a key role in the shaping of government policies. One of the most successful has been the AIPAC whose operations are seen as one of the best examples of political lobbying. Whether any big-money lobbyists should be able to have such a considerable impact on US decision-making is another matter. The reality is that their backers believe they should do and the millions they channel into Washington clearly looks like money well spent.

Every president since Dwight Eisenhower has been broadly supportive of the Israeli state. Barack Obama alone dared to push against the received policy and that only in his second term. Zionist lobby groups hummed with outrage but since the White House arrival of Donald Trump, they have been purring. Trump’s indulgent policies toward Benjamin Netanyahu and his uncompromising attitude to the Palestinians is a triumph for Zionist lobbying, most particularly for the AIPAC.

Therefore, when a bright new Congresswoman points all of this out, surely no sensible person could demur? But no. The furious reaction among her fellow Democrats and members of the American Jewish community has been breathtaking. Omar was accused of anti-Semitism. House speaker Nancy Pelosi said anti-Semitism had to be “called out, without exception”.

All of which is fine, except that how can it be anti-Semitic to launch a political attack on a lobby closely linked to Israel? Pelosi and her Democrat colleagues are either fools or lickspittles. Maybe their attack on Muslim Congresswoman Omar was actually itself informed by Islamophobia.

There is a huge danger here which Zionists around the world perhaps appreciate. Someone who condemns Israel, for whatever reason, is not automatically a racist, is not automatically an anti-Semite. But because anti-Semitism has become such a powerfully loaded phrase, Zionists are regularly using it to try and block any criticism whatsoever of the state of Israel. A core precept of Zionism, enshrined in the1950 Law of Return is that every Jew is automatically eligible for Israeli citizenship. But there are a large number of Jews who would never dream of taking up that offer and who, indeed, have severe reservations over Israeli behavior toward the Palestinians.

Just as, post-1948, Jewish communities throughout the Arab world were terrorized by Israeli agents into decamping to the new Israeli state, so this present conflation of “Jew” and “Israel” is a new drive to obscure the very real difference. The likely upshot is that reasonable people will become fed up with the ridiculous Zionist propaganda and will feel shame that a young Muslim Congresswoman was made to eat crow for merely stating the truth. But here’s the thing. The minute they try to push back against this claptrap, they will themselves be accused of anti-Semitism.