For anyone who missed it, here’s how Sunday’s Rep. Ilhan Omar Twitterstorm went down.
It’s all about the Benjamins baby 🎶 https://t.co/KatcXJnZLV
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 10, 2019
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
There can be no misinterpretation here.
Tweet 1: Congress is pro-Israel because they’re bought off. (In case you’re not familiar with the slang, ‘Benjamins’ refers to $100 bills and the lyric quoted is from a Puff Daddy song.)
Tweet 2: Who is paying these Congresspeople? AIPAC!
We’re dealing with two tropes here. One, that Jews are the puppeteers behind governments (for earlier instances, see Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the ‘Stab in the Back’ theory effectively utilized by Adolf Hitler). Two is a riff on on one: that Jews acquire this power and influence through financial means (for earlier examples, see any mention of the Rothschilds).
Between the musical notes and the exclamation mark one can almost hear glee in Rep. Omar’s responses. It’s disturbing that someone — no less an elected official serving on the House Foreign Relations committee — would relish in such casual anti-Semitism.
Mind you, this same person decrying lobbying — a right codified into the First Amendment — says that the anti-BDS law curtails freedom speech. Talk about true colors.
At JEWISHcolorado’s Choices event, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt discussed the importance of recognizing anti-Semitism on the right and left. She then mentioned a third type of anti-Semitism, which she called radical Islam. And then she just very briefly touched on the latent anti-Semitism that exists in the Muslim world. She mentioned Jewish schoolteachers in Sweden who don’t publicly share their faith with their Muslim students — most of whom are refugees from Arab countries — because of this latent anti-Semitism. These are not radicalized Muslims, they are Muslims who have been raised with anti-Jewish stereotypes. While not widely discussed, this type of anti-Semitism is very real, and extremely pervasive within its religious, cultural and national boundaries. It just happens not to be one manifested often in the United States, but here in Rep. Omar it appears we may have such a manifestation.
Will Rep. Omar’s tweets and the strong reaction to them — both in condemnation and support — open the door to a much-needed conversation about this third type of anti-Semitism?