Earlier this week, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota tweeted that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a staunch pro-Israel lobbying group, might have induced some members of Congress to adopt more pro-Israel positions than they would otherwise take due to campaign donations from the group.
AIPAC! https://t.co/UdzaFUEfrh— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
It's all about the Benjamins baby ? https://t.co/KatcXJnZLV— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 10, 2019
Had Omar (the first Muslim congresswoman) been talking about the NRA or oil lobby, it would have been taken as boilerplate liberal criticism of money in politics. Instead, because of the insidious anti-Semitic stereotype of a wealthy cabal of Jews controlling world affairs, it was taken as bigotry by those on the right ready to score some political points.
Omar did the right thing and apologized, promising to listen and to avoid straying into negative stereotypes in the future. It was a model apology, really.
Listening and learning, but standing strong ?? pic.twitter.com/7TSroSf8h1— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
But there was one Republican who hadn’t scored some points of his own—Donald Trump. In a press availability in the Oval Office today, Trump read from some prepared text and called on Omar to resign, reiterating remarks he made on Air Force One last night:
President Trump: "Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress... I think [Rep. Ilhan Omar] should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee." https://t.co/Ic1orehwY3 pic.twitter.com/mbvpxoMlO9— The Hill (@thehill) February 12, 2019
“Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress,” Trump said. “And I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.” He also said her alleged bigotry was “deep-seated in her heart” and called her apology “lame” saying she “didn’t mean a word of it.”
Of course, Trump has his own long, long, long history of anti-Semitism. There was the time he told a Jewish audience they wouldn’t support him because they couldn’t buy him and “control” him:
TRUMP TODAY: Rep. Omar should resign because she suggested Jews control politicians w/money— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 12, 2019
TRUMP to the GOP Jewish Coalition, 12/3/15: "You're not gonna support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians, that's fine"https://t.co/TecQUkTBSx
Or the time he retweeted an anti-Semitic meme targeting Hillary Clinton:
Trump doesn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to anti-Semitic dogwhistles pic.twitter.com/4cyMRr0HFG— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 12, 2019
Or the time he pushed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jewish billionaire George Soros was secretly funding an “invasion” of migrant caravans. That vile lie led to the largest slaughter of Jews on U.S. soil in history:
Rep. Omar used dumb language while criticizing Israel. President Trump spread a conspiracy theory that led a right-wing extremist to murder 11 American Jews in a synagogue. Enough. https://t.co/JO4Id1nIAX— david litt (@davidlitt) February 12, 2019
And then there was the time he called the neo-Nazis who murdered an activist in Charlottesville “very fine people”:
You called neo-Nazis - who said ‘Jews will not replace us’ - ‘very fine people’, FFS! https://t.co/uiSuVR51r3— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) February 12, 2019
The list goes on and on and on. It goes without saying that Trump has never expressed an iota of regret over these incidents, let alone gone so far as to offer even a “lame” apology. But in Trump’s case, crying crocodile tears over imagined anti-Semitism isn’t just hypocritical, it’s just a different kind of bigotry. He’s simply using feigned concern for Jewish Americans to bully a Muslim woman of color—and one in a historic position—to score cheap political points.
Anti-Semitic attacks have been on the rise during the Trump presidency, both in the United States and overseas. And while no single resignation is going to put a stop to the bigotry, if there’s one that would help, it’s not Omar’s—it’s Trump’s.
h/t: The Hill