Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar stated “AIPAC!” is the only reason American politicians support Israel. The progressive Democrat claims “it’s all about the Benjamins baby” regarding criticism of her foreign policy stance. As for why anyone would support Israel, money leads “people to push for allegiance to” this foreign nation, says the freshman Democrat.
According to Omar, the fact that Hamas is labeled a terrorist group by the European Union and countries around the world doesn’t play a role in America’s alliance with its strategic ally. The reality that Hamas executed 23 Palestinians in 2015, or the fact it’s recently launched 370 rockets into Israel, apparently don’t factor into America’s support. To Omar (and a great many progressive voters) there’s simply no logical reason, aside from lobbyist money and financial incentive, for American politicians to defend the Jewish state.
The Anti-Semitism of Linking Money to Jewish Interests
First, Omar’s rhetoric epitomizes classic anti-Semitism because it focuses on money linked to Jewish interests, not the numerous reasons (tied to national security concerns) an American would support Israel. In terms of dollar amounts, however, the facts undermine Omar’s tweets.
Contrary to her viewpoint, Israel isn’t the top foreign contributor to the U.S. government. According to Anna Massoglia and Geoff West of Open Secrets, countries around the world spend tens of millions more than Israel influencing American politicians:
Since 2017, no country has spent more money on U.S. influence efforts than South Korea. Governmental and non-governmental entities have spent about $70.5 million in the U.S. Japan ranks second with $51.4 million.
About $3 out of every $10 spent on foreign lobbying in the U.S. since last year originated from East Asian countries, specifically South Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The five countries have spent a combined $158.2 million since January 2017 — or nearly half of the $374.5 million spent on behalf of the remaining 128 countries in our data.
While Israel ranks currently beneath South Korea by around $20 million and slightly ahead of Japan in another ranking, it’s curious Omar and other Democrats don’t condemn the over $30 million from Saudi Arabia or millions from other parts of the world.
In addition, Israel is ranked behind the United States, Russia, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan in terms of its ability to project “influence on the world stage” according to U.S. News and World Report. This statistic contradicts Omar’s 2012 tweet reading “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” If this blatantly prejudicial statement is true, Israel has been spending less and projecting less influence than other nations, while “hypnotizing” others to defend its interests.
Younger Progressives Don’t Know Much About Israel
Of course, the facts undermining the Democratic congresswoman’s anti-Israel sentiments aren’t the primary reason she’s displayed blatantly anti-Semitic views. I explain the heart of the matter in a recent Jerusalem Post op-ed. Many in the younger and more energetic base of the Democratic Party believe Palestinians are victims of Israeli oppression.
The more idealistic wing of progressive voters believe Israel shouldn’t exist since it “stole” land (ignoring thousands of years of Jewish history) and “colonized” territories after 1948. The Middle East crisis is viewed from the lens of Palestinians being oppressed and persecuted while battling an Israeli oppressor that has zero right to exist. In this paradigm, anything Israel does to defend itself from Hamas or other terrorist groups is a crime against humanity, regardless of circumstance or context.
Although there are, of course, valid arguments condemning the Palestinian civilian deaths from Israeli retaliation, and human rights issues caused by the occupation, absolutely zero blame for the chaos is placed on the Palestinian side by many Democrats. It’s always Israel’s fault, which is why Omar can ask God to awaken the world to Israel’s treachery without the usual outrage from progressive thought police on Twitter.
If a Christian conservative had prayed to God to awaken people against the “evil” exhibited by any constituent of the Democratic Party, or perhaps an Arab nation, the immediate outrage from liberals would be swift and intense. The Democrats defending Omar aren’t taking into account the feelings of American Jews who view Israel to be the spiritual land of the Jewish people. The singular emphasis on Israeli money as the key motivation to support Israel, as well as the reality that numerous nations spend comparable amounts (or even outrank Israel) in terms of influence over U.S. politicians, points to blatant anti-Semitism within Omar’s views.
If Democrats were to condemn these sentiments with too much vigor, they’d lose votes and enthusiasm from an already disenchanted progressive voter base. For reasons associated with votes and a change in sentiment among younger Democrats towards Israel, the Democratic Party is shockingly afraid to condemn Omar‘s overt anti-Semitism.