It’s been just about a perfect month for Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. The congresswoman’s new autobiography, “This Is What America Looks Like,” got a glowing review in the New York Times Book Review, and she received a coveted spot in the paper’s Sunday Magazine “Talk” feature, where the celebrity interviewer fawned over her.
If that weren’t great enough, President Donald Trump attacked her during a campaign rally in Moon, Pennsylvania. Trump blasted Omar for “telling us how to run our country” while pointing out that “her country” — she’s an immigrant from Somalia — wasn’t doing so well. The barb was denounced by enlightened liberal media sources as proof both of Trump’s xenophobia and the perils that Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen and the first Muslim woman to serve in Congress, faces as she bravely battles the intolerant forces of reaction.
This trifecta of good publicity wasn’t just a boost for book sales. It neatly summarized how a member of Congress who has repeatedly engaged in antisemitism and promoted radical policies has managed not only to avoid censure from the Democratic Party establishment and the liberal mainstream media but also to actually benefit from her extremism.
The Congresswoman Became a Leftist Heroine
Not only had Omar engaged in antisemitic comments for years, but after winning election to Congress in 2018, she accused her new colleagues of having been bought by supporters of Israel, saying, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.” Then while supposedly trying to make amends for that comment, she claimed Jews were pushing for “allegiance to a foreign country.”
Omar’s use of two traditional antisemitic tropes — Jews manipulating the world with money and engaging in dual allegiance — that date back to the tsarist propaganda tract, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” would have ended the career of any ordinary politician in the past — but not Omar.
Rather than getting even a slap on the wrist from party leaders, Omar was given a seat on the House Foreign Relations Committee. When Republicans and some Democrats sought to pass a motion of official censure in the House of Representatives, the Congressional Black Caucus and other left-wingers rose to her defense.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had initially chastised Omar, caved in to the pressure from key party constituencies. The result was a motion that didn’t mention Omar by name and was an anodyne condemnation of all prejudice rather than just antisemitism. It was so watered down that even Omar voted for it.
The same month, Pelosi appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with Omar and other members of “the Squad” of extreme left-wingers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. When a well-funded primary opponent challenged the congresswoman this year, Pelosi endorsed Omar. That move as well as Omar’s landslide primary victory was a signal for just how much “the Squad” intimidated Democratic leaders and how popular hatred dressed up in intersectional leftist rhetoric is with their party base.
Not only was Omar treated to softball interviews from CNN and MSNBC, but she was also booked on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” where the leftist comedian gave her the full celebrity heroine treatment. The same thing happened with her Times Sunday Magazine interview, in which she was allowed to get away with explaining her talk of wanting to “burn down everything” — in a year in which mobs of Black Lives Matter protesters have been trying to do just that — as “metaphorical.” How does she get away with it?
Trump’s abusive quips in which he said the members of the Squad should “go back” to where they came from were inappropriate. Those comments allowed Omar to pose as a victim, just as she had done when called to account for her antisemitism since she made clear that those who were angry with her were being Islamophobic.
Omar’s Antisemitism Got a Pass from the Left
The other factor is the growing acceptance on the left of the intersectional ideology in which support for Third World insurgencies, such as the Palestinian war to destroy Israel, is wrongly considered morally equivalent to the struggle for civil rights in the United States.
Omar and Tlaib are the only members of Congress to endorse the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, the stated aim of which is the destruction of the one Jewish state on the planet. In practice, it seeks to silence and isolate American Jewish supporters of Israel. As such, the movement is intrinsically antisemitic, since it singles out Israel and Jews for prejudicial treatment. Yet Omar is unashamed about being linked to this kind of hate, even claiming that while she opposes economic sanctions on the tyrannical, terrorist-supporting Iranian regime, she thinks boycotts of Israel are justified.
Her Times Magazine interview demonstrates both her narcissism and the way she is allowed to get away with talking down to those she has subjected to hate. In it, she claims to understand antisemitism better than her Jewish critics because her claims of being subjected to Islamophobia have made her observations about prejudice particularly insightful.
Her attacks on the Minneapolis Police Department — the city falls entirely within her district — in the wake of the death of George Floyd also demonstrate the circular arguments she employs in defense of her radical politics. Omar has repeatedly attacked and sought to delegitimize the police while calling for the department’s abolition, but she also blames them for the crime wave that has enveloped the city in the wake of Democrats’ criticism of law enforcement that has made it impossible for the force to do its job.
Omar Is Proof of Democrats’ Hypocrisy
The same theme permeates the Times interview and many of her other comments in the last two years. Omar defines herself as a victim of prejudice, saying those who try to call her to account for her threats to “burn down” American institutions are therefore anti-black, anti-Muslim, and anti-female.
It’s a brilliant strategy that has so far worked perfectly. Omar has crossed so many red lines in less than one term in office, combining antisemitism with support for far-left causes. Yet she has become a mainstream media favorite and idol of her party’s activist base.
In an era in which victimhood remains the coin of the realm, few have as much currency as Omar, who continues to pose as an oppressed, persecuted minority while becoming a national figure who can count on much of the chattering classes and, even more important, pop culture influencers to applaud her.
While Omar is in no danger of being held accountable for her extremism, her ascent to rock-star status among Democrats and their media cheering section gives the lie to their claims to be standing up against hate and antisemitism. Although anyone who can be considered a hero of the anti-Trump “resistance” seems to possess a permanent “get-out-of-jail-free” card from the corporate press, Omar’s celebrity constitutes damning proof of their hypocrisy.