The Corner

Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar’s Lazy and Anti-Semitic Tweets

Rep. Ilhan Omar, (D., Minn.) walks in Washington, D.C., January 16, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/REUTERS)

Representative Ilhan Omar is getting a lot of well-deserved grief for her (latest) dimwitted tweets:

The usual Twitter mobs were unleashed in her defense. If you search Twitter for AIPAC, you’ll find all sorts of crazy talk about “foreign lobbyists” and the stranglehold the perfidious bagel-snarfers have on our democracy including from some fairly prominent figures:

Of course, it’s no surprise that Omar believes this garbage. It’s one of the lazier and most timeless talking points of a rogue’s gallery of cranks, Islamists, and, of course, anti-Semites of the Left and Right, as well as conspiracy theorists generally. Congress is “Israeli Occupied Territory” according to all the worst people.

Now a few points seem worth making. AIPAC isn’t a foreign lobby. It’s an American organization run by Americans. It spends remarkably little on lobbying and Israel spends virtually nothing on lobbying Congress. According to Open Secrets, the biggest political contributor of the “Pro-Israel” lobby in the 2018 cycle was . . .  J Street, which spent nearly four times as much ($4,057,820) as the next biggest contributor NORPAC ($1,126,063). Planned Parenthood gave $5,734,048. In 2018, AIPAC did spend the most on lobbying — which is different than contributing. But again, its expenditures were relatively miniscule at 3.5 million. Lawyers spent nearly three times as much on lobbying ($15.4 million) and their contributions totaled over 217 million. The financial, insurance, and real-estate industries contributed nearly $883 million and another half-billion on lobbying.

Now, I’m not naïve. Of course, pro-Israel groups and individuals spend money on politics in other ways, direct and indirect. One need only look at Sheldon Adelson’s political giving to understand that.

But sometimes when people say “It’s not about the money” it’s actually not about the money. The best analogy is to the NRA. For many on the Left and in the media, it’s an article of faith that Republicans don’t cross the NRA because of all of the “blood money” the group lavishes on Congress. They find gun-rights arguments to be so outlandish on their face — in part because they live in gun-free blue bubbles — they immediately assume that bribery is at play. But, as I wrote here, the NRA gives remarkably little in terms of donations. The NRA’s — and the broader gun lobby’s — real power lies in the fact that it can mobilize voters.

Israel is popular with a number of important constituencies including many Jews (imagine that). But its real popularity resides among evangelical Christians and voters generally. And, despite its perfectly debatable flaws, real and alleged, it should be popular. It’s an ally. It’s democratic. It’s Western. And its enemies are largely our enemies. It’s no coincidence it’s listed as the “Little Satan” alongside the “Great Satan” that is America, by some of the most evil and backward regimes in the world.

But as with guns, Israel’s detractors cannot imagine that Congress — or Americans generally — could support Israel in good faith. It must be because of the evil string-pulling jooz spreading around their filthy Benjamins that we haven’t thrown her under the bus. This socialism of fools is a very old story and the idea that those who traffic in it are just “realists” telling it like it is an old trope as well.

If they understood how old it is, and what has been done in furtherance of such conspiracy theories, they might even understand why some people think it’s worth fighting against such people, even in the form of lobbying Congress. Indeed, they might even understand that they have the causality backward. The “Israel Lobby” exists precisely because people like Omar and her defenders make it necessary for it to exist.

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More

Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More

Questions for Those Who Believed Jussie Smollett

The “we reported the Jussie Smollett case responsibly” contention has been blasted to smithereens. Twitter accounts and headlines in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times reported as fact Jussie Smollett’s wildly implausible allegations, and many other journalists did so as ... Read More

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More