Goodman and Greenwald. Screenshot “Democracy Now.”
[Speaking Truth To Empower]
Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar caused quite a stir with many calling her anti-Semitic because of a tweet portraying American politicians as being controlled by lobbyist on behalf of Israel; and for her takedown of Iran-Contra co-conspirator, an admitted liar, Elliot Abrams, who recently advocated in Congress for the removal of elected Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.
Rep. Omar apologized, for the tweet, but deceitful Republicans still called for her resignation including the reprehensible President Donald Trump.
Do Republicans really believe they have any moral ground to stand on, regarding anti-Semitism, when they remained silent while President Trump called the Charlottesville Neo-Nazis and racists “very fine people?” Why haven’t Republicans done anything to purge their party of the Neo-Nazis and racists within their ranks?
Why haven’t they called for the resignations of Republicans who’ve made statements attacking Jewish donors of the Democratic Party like: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California? McCarthy, and other prominent Republicans, have attacked specific Jewish supporters—like George Soros and Tom Steyer—for their financial support of Democrats.
Last October McCarthy said Soros and Steyer were trying to “buy” the 2018 mid-terms. Where were the calls of anti-Semitism against McCarthy? Now, McCarthy, who also said nothing when Trump called African nations “shithole countries,” is talking of “taking action” against Omar.
Another Republican hypocrite, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, said Omar should be removed “from the Foreign Affairs Committee” because of her “disgraceful anti-Semitic remarks.” But when Scalise spoke at former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke’s 2002 White supremacist European American Unity and Rights Organization neither Scalise—or other Republicans—saw that as “disgraceful.” And, according to reporter Stephanie Grace, Scalise once told her that he “was like David Duke without the baggage.”
Hypocritically, Scalise and McCarthy are now giving holier-than-thou speeches castigating Omar. Republicans have zero credibility here.
The controversy erupted last week after Omar tweeted that the relationship between Israel and American leaders was “all about the Benjamins baby,” and that the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC influenced U.S. policy and politicians on Capitol Hill. In the past others have criticized this situation for preventing the U.S. from adopting a balanced and constructive role in the Middle East.
Predictably, many immediately characterized Omar’s comments as anti-Semitic. This is always the case when anyone criticizes the conduct of the Israeli government, especially as it relates to their occupation of Palestinian territory—and the ongoing oppression of Palestinians.
True the relationship between American politicians and the State of Israel is more complex than just monetary considerations. Israel is the eyes and ears for Washington, and the White House, in the Middle East. The argument can be made that Israel operates as an extension of America’s military in the region. America’s Middle East foreign policy, and geo-political interests, are interconnected with Israel.
Still it would be ridiculous not to realize that money is an important component of the relationship between some American politicians—on both sides of the aisle—and Israeli concerns. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed this out on a recent Democracy Now segment, with Amy Goodman.
Greenwald called the anti-Semitic charge against Omar “all so ridiculous. It’s all based upon this demand that we indulge what everybody knows is an utter and complete fiction, which is that we’re allowed to talk about the power of the NRA in Washington, we’re allowed to talk about the power of the Saudis in Washington, we’re allowed to talk about the power of big pharmaceutical companies and Wall Street and Silicon Valley and the fossil fuel industry in Washington, but we’re not allowed to talk about an equally potent, well-organized and well-financed lobby that ensures a bipartisan consensus in support of U.S. defense of Israel, that the minute that you mention that lobby, you get attacked as being anti-Semitic, which is what happened to Congresswoman Omar.”
Greenwald also pointed out that “For a long time, the bipartisan piety was not just that the U.S. has to support Israel, but that, in particular, the effort to boycott Israel in protest of its occupation of Palestine is not just misguided, but anti-Semitic. That’s the official position of the Democratic Party, of Hillary Clinton, of Chuck Schumer, of every leading Democrat…What the congresswoman said is very uncontroversial. Everyone knows AIPAC is an extremely intimidating lobby, just like the NRA is. There’s nothing wrong with pointing that out. There’s certainly nothing anti-Semitic about saying that, about criticizing the Israeli government for its aggression and militarism…And the last point I would add is, my point was, in saying how weird it is, what a priority it is for U.S. politicians to defend Israel, was based on the fact that the very first bill passed by the U.S. Senate was not about helping Americans; it was about empowering states to punish people who support a boycott of Israel.”
Greenwald’s analysis is on point and exposes both political parties as apologists for the State of Israel—not the Jewish people. The idea that all Jews supports the oppressive practices of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government is fiction. Bernie Sanders, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Jon Stewart, Natalie Portman, Sarah Silverman, and Glenn Greenwald –all of whom are prominent Jews like– are opposed to Israel’s oppressive polices against Palestinians.
Are we to believe they are all just “self-hating Jews” or anti-Semitic? Or, are they principled people, who regardless of their Jewish heritage, realize truth cannot be silenced by lies?
Omar caused more consternation, a few days later, by her penetrating questioning, and crushing character analysis, of Elliott Abrams’s term as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights in the Ronald Reagan Administration. Omar connected Abrams to the kind of crimes American foreign policy facilitates with its unsavory connection to dictators, and undemocratic rulers—such as the slaughter of approximately 800 people during the infamous El Mozote Massacre, in El Salvador, in 1981 during a period when the U.S.-backed a right wing regime there.
Abrams currently serves as the Trump Administration’s Special Representative for Venezuela. Abrams is advocating for regime change to remove elected Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro. Abrams and others, are asking for Maduro to be replaced by opposition right-wing leader Juan Guaido.
American politicians, and some in main stream media, have referred to President Maduro as a “dictator,” arguing that Venezuela’s recent election was in dispute. Should we then call Georgia Governor Brian Kemp a dictator since the evidence strongly indicates he just brazenly stole Georgia’s election from Stacey Abrams?
Ever since the 1823 Monroe Doctrine—named after United States 5th president, James Monroe—the American political patriarchy has decided what happens in Latin America should be controlled by them.
During a contentious exchange, Rep. Omar, correctly, told Abrams “I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony you give today to be truthful.” This was after Omar pointed out that “in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.”
Omar clearly highlighted the absurdity of giving any merit to Abrams’ testimony. Abrams, by his own admission, convicted himself of misleading the Congress regarding the sordid connections that illegally funneled money to the Contras—and arms, ironically, to Iran. The money from these sales was used by the right-wing Contras to ferment violent terroristic actions against the then Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega.
Given Mr. Abrams’s dubious background, Rep. Omar had every right to denounce him—and attack his credibility as he now seeks to encourage Capitol Hill to engage in another military misadventure.
Rep. Omar was just elected to Congress. Omar, and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, are the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress.
Rep. Omar, a Somali-American, represents the racially diverse 2018 class of political newcomers, which includes a promising mix of African-Americans, Native Americans, and Latino-Americans.
Apparently, the Trump White House, and Congress, don’t seem to realize many aspects of the old business-as-usual Washington politics was rightly rejected by the historic results of the 2018 Election.