Jan. 22, 2019
- In 2012, during one of Israel’s periodic wars with Hamas in Gaza, Ilhan Omar, at the time a nutrition coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Education, tweeted: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Ms. Omar, a refugee from Somalia who was just seated on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN on Thursday, “I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans.” Allow me to explain why this Jewish American, and almost every Jewish American I know, found her words so offensive.
- The conspiracy theory of the Jew as the hypnotic conspirator is one with ancient roots and a bloody history. It has led to countless expulsions, murders, massacres and pogroms throughout Europe and elsewhere. The biggest “Jew” today in the demonology of modern anti-Semitism is the Jewish state, Israel.
- While there are perfectly legitimate criticisms that one can make of Israel or the actions of its government, those criticisms cross the line into anti-Semitism when they ascribe evil, almost supernatural powers to Israel in a manner that replicates classic anti-Semitic slanders.
- During the weeklong November 2012 war, which began when Hamas fired 100 rockets at civilian targets, Israel “hypnotized” nobody. It was subject to the usual barrage of intense criticism in the news media and at the UN.
- That Israel continues to retain support in the U.S. among mainstream Democrats and Republicans is because the Jewish state is not engaged in “evil doings,” but defending itself against the enemies pressing on all of its borders, including Hamas, which has genocide of the Jews at the heart of its ideology.
- Those who call themselves anti-Zionists usually insist they are not anti-Semites. But I struggle to see what else to call an ideology that seeks to eradicate only one state in the world – the one that happens to be the Jewish one – while empathetically insisting on the rights of self-determination for every other minority.