Why attack Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who said that Congressional support for Israel has been bought by money from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, at a time when someone who is very familiar with the lobby attests to its tremendous power. On the online news publication The Intercept, journalist Mehdi Hassan describes a meeting between Steven Rosen, a former president of AIPAC, and journalist Jeffrey Goldberg in 2005. “You see this napkin?” asked Rosen. “In 24 hours, we could have the signatures of 70 senators on this napkin.”
That’s corrupting power, which should cause any decent Jew to lose sleep. After all, we’re not talking about a poor country, to which policy can be dictated, whether by force or with money. We’re talking about the world’s biggest superpower. We’re also talking about 70 senators out of 100 – 70 percent of the Senate is in AIPAC’s pocket.
So what would happen if the situation were reversed, and neo-Nazism, which according to U.S. President Donald Trump also includes good people, were to assume senior positions? Would the Jews then be blamed for all the ills of the United States?
At the moment I feel for Congresswoman Ilhan, who thought she was living in a democratic country, and that she could report to the public about what she sees. We can assume that a few years ago Omar was able to observe Republican candidates knocking on the door of far-right mogul Sheldon Adelson, asking for his support – his monetary support, of course.
I assume that Omar also noticed the strange phenomenon which, with the exception of Gideon Levy, almost nobody in Israel noticed: that all the senior members of the White House Middle East team are Jews, and not leftist, Peace Now Jews, God forbid, but right-wing, Habayit Hayehudi Jews. The poor Palestinians were unable to comment on that for fear of AIPAC, which is responsible for putting “anti-Semite” stickers on anyone who dares criticize Israel.
Now President Trump is angry at Omar. “I think she should be ashamed of herself. I think it was a terrible statement,” he said. But Trump has apparently forgotten that on the eve of his election in 2015 he told the participants at a convention of the Republican Jewish Coalition: “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”
Trump’s statement included the two most benighted elements that anti-Semites have attributed to Jews for hundreds of years: money and control. That statement, about which Chemi Shalev wrote at the time: “As though the Jews are incapable of supporting a candidate whom they can’t buy,” was met here by almost total silence. How do they say it in Arabic: “The blows of the beloved are like raisins.”
Now Omar, after the witch hunt surrounding her, has retreated from her tweet. She will have to work hard to prove that she’s not anti-Semitic, and that what she sees is actually an illusion. The truth must be told: Her retreat is a mark of Cain on the forehead of reasonable Jews, both in Israel and the United States. After all, cleaning the stables of the ills of the Israeli right is mainly the job of reasonable Jews.
Why impose that job on Omar? Why outsource the dirty work to the gentiles, instead of buckling down and taking action. And starting, for example, by sending tens of thousands of signatures on postcards saying: We support you, Ilhan the heroine.
And if not, Ilhan will yet say to herself: Why do I need another headache? And retreat to her home. Whereas you, Jewish democrats, will continue to obey the orders of the insane alliance of the Israeli and American right, and continue to send your sons on terrible missions in the occupied territories. And if TV news anchor Oshrat Kotler says that it’s because of the occupation – you’ll stone her, instead of stoning the occupation. Only the occupation could produce such genius.
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