Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) defended Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) anti-Semitism on Wednesday during a “She the People” event in Houston, Texas.
“My question is about Ilhan Omar. She was recently critical of the outside influence of AIPAC in determining U.S. foreign policy, including funding of Israel,” a member of the audience said. “Subsequently, she has received condemnation from the President and members of her own party, as well as death threats. What will you do as president to protect the right of courageous women of color to criticize U.S. policy even when directed at allies?”
“Thank you for your question. The criticisms of Congresswoman Omar, what Donald Trump has been saying about her is reprehensible, it is trafficking in Islamophobia, and it should be condemned by everyone,” Booker responded. “This kind of selective condemnation should be a chorus of people condemning it.”
Of course, the entire premise of the audience member’s question was false and Booker’s response to the question was dishonest.
Omar was condemned for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories used by Nazi Germany; for stating that she did not understand why her anti-Semitism was offensive to American Jews; for supporting the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement; for suggesting that Israel should not be allowed to exist as a Jewish state; for comparing Israel to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism; for embracing anti-Semites the moment she was sworn into office; for promoting the anti-Semitic conspiracy that pro-Israel groups were paying U.S. politicians to be loyal to Israel; for accusing Jewish members of Congress of conspiring against her to silence her; for accusing Jewish members of expecting her to have dual loyalties to Israel; and for trivializing the 9/11 terrorist attacks as “some people did something.”
Many things from Omar’s past have also surfaced and have plagued her short career as a member of Congress, including her advocating for leniency in the sentencing of men who tried to join ISIS; advocating for the release of a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood from prison in Egypt; and demonizing U.S. forces who were killed in Somalia during Black Hawk Down.
During an AIPAC event this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) all blasted Omar for her anti-Semitism.
“What weakens us is, instead of engaging in legitimate debate about policies, someone questions the motives of his or her fellow citizens,” Hoyer said in a clear shot at Omar, who had questioned the loyalties of U.S. politicians. “So let’s have debates on policy instead of imputing the loyalty of Israel’s supporters.”
“I stand with Israel, proudly and unapologetically,” Hoyer said. “So when someone accuses American supporters of dual loyalty, I say: accuse me.”
“When the curtain is pulled back, everyone can see what the [BDS] movement truly is: a front for delegitimizing the Jewish people’s right to self-determination,” Hoyer said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, in recent weeks, we’ve heard a lot about the rise of forces who want to pull America and Israel apart,” Netanyahu said. “So I can tell you one thing. I guarantee you this. They will fail. They will fail.”
“Those who seek to defame this great organization AIPAC, those who seek to undermine American support for Israel, they must be confronted,” Netanyahu continued. “Despite what they claim, they do not merely criticize the policies of Israel’s government. God, I’m used to that. That happens every five minutes. They do something else. They spew venom that has long been directed at the Jewish people.”
“Again, the Jews are cast as a force for evil. Again, the Jews are charged with disloyalty. Again, the Jews are said to have too much influence, too much power, too much money,” Netanyahu continued. “The best way to respond to those who hate the Jews is not to bow down to them. It’s to stand up to them.”
“So I have a message to all the anti-Semites out there … the Jewish people do not bow down,” Netanyahu added. “We stand up. We fight. And we win.”
“My friends, ladies and gentlemen, some people will just never get it. They’ll never understand why the vast majority of Americans – Jews and non-Jews alike – support Israel,” Netanyahu concluded in the portion of his speech talking about anti-Semitism. “Take it from this Benjamin, it’s not about the Benjamins. The reason the people of America support Israel is not because they want our money, it’s because they share our values.”
Pelosi went as far as to suggest that Omar was “anti-American.”
“This month, the full House came together to condemn the anti-Semitic myth of dual loyalty, and all forms of bigotry, with a resolution that ‘rejects the perpetuation of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the United States and around the world, including the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance, especially in the context of support for the United States-Israel alliance,'” Pelosi said. “I simply declare to be anti-Semitic is to be anti-American. It has no place in our country.”