Ilhan Omar: Obama’s a ‘pretty face’ who got ‘away with murder’

March 08, 2019

Ilhan Omar said in a new interview today that may further irritate (or be seen as a challenge to) the Democratic Party establishment that Obama and Trump are two of the same. Obama was just more polished, she told Politico



* “Earlier Omar, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized Israel for – well, she didn’t say what – while traveling in the Horn of Africa. ‘Proud to see peace prosper here,’ she wrote from Eritrea.

“Eritrea is ranked just behind North Korea as the world’s most oppressive country. But if you’re a young Muslim woman of color, smearing democratic Israel while praising much more abhorrent regimes can sound really, really cool.”


This is a follow-up to the dispatch earlier today about how the Democratic Party establishment is feeling increasingly intimated by the young progressives such as Ilhan Omar: “American Jews like to say America is different. We’re about see if that is true”

I attach two further pieces below -- Tom Gross



Ilhan Omar: Obama’s a ‘pretty face’ who got ‘away with murder’
By Bob Fredericks
New York Post
March 8, 2019

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar ripped former President Barack Obama in an interview published Friday, belittling his “pretty face” and saying his agenda of hope and change was an illusion.

[Tom Gross: the full interview is here].

She cited the “caging of kids” at the Mexican border and the “droning of countries around the world” on Obama’s watch – and argued that he wasn’t much different from President Trump

“We can’t be only upset with Trump,” the freshman firebrand told Politico Magazine.

“His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was,” Omar said.

“And that’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.”

The explosive comments about a man lionized by Democrats were only the latest in a series of incendiary statements that have put the national spotlight on Omar, a Somali-American Muslim who spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya after her family fled the violence in their homeland.

In February, her second month in office, Omar responded to a tweet about House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s threats to punish her and another congresswoman for criticizing Israel.

“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” she tweeted, a line from a Puff Daddy song about $100 bills.

Critics said Omar was perpetuating a hateful trope about Jewish Americans and money.

She recently got into another hot mess after another tweet was slammed by some as anti-Semitic.

The ensuing firestorm rattled the Democratic House majority and spurred days of recriminations and tense negotiations that led to the compromise package condemning bigotry that sailed through the House on Thursday, with only 23 Republicans voting against it.

The party’s leftist wing, led by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said Omar was being singled out when others at the highest levels of government had said things that were worse and escaped censure.

More moderate Dems, including Jewish lawmakers such as New York’s Eliot Engle, wanted the resolution to focus only on anti-Semitism as a direct response to Omar’s comment, which questioned the loyalty of politicians who accept donations from pro-Israel PACs and organizations.

Ultimately, after days of chaos and acrimony, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to unite her caucus – and box in a big majority of Republicans – to back the compromise.

And Omar – along with Rashida Tlaib of Michigan the first Muslim women in Congress – said she’s willing to keep speaking out and be a Republican punching bag if it helps advance her agenda, a prospect that likely makes many of her fellow Democrats cringe.



How can the anti-Zionists pretend the world would be better off without Israel?
By Benny Avni
New York Post
March 8, 2019

Anti-Zionism manifests itself in many forms – and it isn’t any better than its older cousin, anti-Semitism.

Britain’s opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has elevated it to an art form, describing terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends” and causing Labour members to bolt. In France, persistent attacks on Jews and deadly rioting by self-declared anti-Zionists forced President Emmanuel Macron to ­denounce their cause as a “reinvented form of anti-Semitism.”

Now a new crop of American politicians want in, too. Oh, sure, our anti-Zionists claim to champion the right to criticize Israel. Or its policies. Or Likud. Or the occupation, apartheid, racism, whatever. It’s just an accident that the new anti-Zionists are obsessed with the world’s one Jewish state.

On Monday, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who’s become Corbyn’s BFF) took to Twitter to defend the right of her colleague Ilhan Omar to hate – oops, “criticize” – Israel. So did Rep. Rashida Tlaib and, soon after, three leading Democratic presidential contenders.

Earlier Omar, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized Israel for – well, she didn’t say what – while traveling in the Horn of Africa. “Proud to see peace prosper here,” she wrote from Eritrea.

Eritrea is ranked just behind North Korea as the world’s most oppressive country. But if you’re a young Muslim woman of color, smearing democratic Israel while praising much more abhorrent regimes can sound really, really cool.

On the left, “Zionism is racism” is back in vogue. Never mind that the far right’s racists are all-in, too: David Duke is now a full-fledged “anti-Zionist” and celebrates Omar.

What drives today’s anti-Zionists? Is it principled opposition to Theodore Herzl’s vision, born in the late 19th century, of Jews ­returning to their ancestral land?

Herzl famously said: “If you will it, it is no dream.” And just like Kevin Costner’s baseball diamond in a cornfield, the early Zionists built the dream, and the Jewish people came.

Today Israel is a global power with a rambunctious democratic culture, a free press and a booming, innovative economy.

The Zionists ended the image of Jews as perpetual victims. In an age when victimhood is fetishized, Israel’s triumph is frowned upon.

But anti-Zionism isn’t so new or hip. It was first perfected by Josef Stalin, who drew on Russian anti-Semitism by renaming it – with deadly results to any Soviet comrade suspected of Zionism.

The Soviet doctrine persisted after Stalin and was eventually embedded in a United Nations resolution that still echoes in Turtle Bay’s halls and beyond decades after its smear was rescinded: Zionism is racism. The Soviet Union collapsed; the Jewish state survived.

Do today’s anti-Zionists truly envision a better world if Israel ceased to exist? And what happens to the Israelis in that scenario?

“Go back to where you came from” is nonsense, as most Israeli Jews were born there. Instead, ­sophisticated anti-Zionists advocate a “one-state solution” that would turn the country into a multinational state with no established religion.

But that “religion” thing is nonsense too. True, Israel celebrates Jewish holidays, and things slow down on Saturdays. But Israel is a nation, not an open-air synagogue. Roughly half of Israelis are secularists, worshipping the art of living well rather than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

And whether religious or secular, Israelis look around in their neighborhood, and they prefer an open, Jewish-majority society to the Mideast’s other oppressive ­regimes. A binational state would threaten their vibrant democracy – and likely exacerbate Arab-Jew enmity, rather than end it.

But sure, want to criticize Israel? Go for it. But if you appear obsessed with one state and one state only, while ignoring China’s oppression of Muslims, cheering on the thuggish Venezuelan regime or praising Eritrea, your critique will be idiotic – and also bigoted.

By the way: Israel’s election campaign is in full gear, and everything – policy, politics, personal life, police investigations – is out in the open. Just listen to vicious but fact-based attacks that are made by, well, true Blue and White Zionists against each other. They’re better at it than Omar & Co.


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All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.