Congress

Illin’ Omar


- March 10th, 2019
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Minnesota anti-Semite Ilhan Omar (D) has been on a tear. Late last month, at a political event at a Washington, D.C. bookstore, the freshman Democrat said she wanted “to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

When her fellow Democrat, Representative Nita Lowey of New York, called her out, Omar tweeted her reply: “Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that!”

In case you haven’t figured it out, the country in question is Israel, the pressure to sing “Hatikvah” before first pitch comes in the form of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)-distributed Benjamins, backed up by the full faith and credit of the Rothschilds, I suppose.

Omar’s immediate purpose is to weaken U.S. support for Israel by making its allies refute charges of the thoughtcrime of disloyalty. But this isn’t really an Israel issue, it’s an anti-Semitism issue. This sort of virus in the long run poses an existential threat to the U.S. Jewish community.

In fact, the best defenses of the U.S.-Israel alliance have always been based on the fact that the alliance is in U.S. interests and also promotes U.S. values abroad. That’s still the best argument. Even aside from the military and intelligence cooperation in the Middle East and elsewhere, abandoning Israel to find allies in an increasingly authoritarian world runs the risk of reversing Israel’s movement away from socialism and toward freedom.

If these were just the rantings of a fringe freshman grabbing some headlines before flaming out, it might be dismissed as a passing fancy. No doubt that was the House Democratic leadership’s hope and intent.

What’s particularly worrisome is that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had her caucus thinking that she was fearless in standing up to President Trump over the wall, seems intimidated by this woman.

You think Sam Rayburn would have put up with this?

Omar would have discovered that her bills couldn’t get assigned bill numbers, and committee chairmen magically couldn’t hear her asking for the floor. “I’m sorry, did you say you needed the copying machine? They’re all out of order.”

Speaking of committees, “What committee assignment did you say you’d like? Joint Committee on Printing? Yes, of course there’s an opening just for you.”

Within a week, major contributors wouldn’t be returning phone calls. If she kept it up, rumors of a primary challenge wouldn’t reach her ears until the challenger was already on the ballot.

And if Rayburn really needed to play dirty, you can be sure he’d have Omar’s marriage records. All of them.

Rayburn, like Pelosi, wouldn’t have cared much about her issues one way or the other, but he knew how to keep his caucus in line. In particular, he wouldn’t have relished a freshman troublemaker splitting the party down the middle for the sole purpose of alienating one of its main coalition groups.

That’s the key to the problem.

Jews are simply no longer one of the Democrats’ main coalition groups, and not only because of feckless leadership. Jewish Democrats who pretended to be mortally offended when James Baker said, “to hell with them—the Jews don’t vote for us, anyway,” accept it with perfect equanimity when Democrats make the same observation.

Objectively, Jewish votes simply matter less as the nation’s demographics change. Jewish population centers are not in competitive states at the presidential level, except perhaps for Florida. Omar and her colleague Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) are from swing states, at least in 2016 and 2020. Most Jewish voters are in urban districts almost certain to remain in Democrats’ hands regardless.

This didn’t appear overnight; it bubbled up from the minor leagues. In Colorado, when the legislature passed an anti-BDS bill in 2016, the three state senators whose districts include the bulk of the state’s Jewish population all voted against it. Despite claims of coalition-building, only JewishColorado and the Jewish Community Relations Council showed up to testify in favor of the bill, and nobody else.

As the country’s demographics change, so is the Democratic Party having a change of heart.

Every Republican’s favorite Democrat, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, used to say, “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”

Once again, conservative truth is giving us an unpleasant lesson in the limitation of liberal truth.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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