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Red-Green Axis Chokes on Omar’s Antisemitism

February 14th 2019

Nancy Pelosi

First term Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) ignited a storm of controversy with a Tweet on Sunday 10 February 2019 that cast AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) as a Jewish lobby whose money buys a pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy. In response to a Glenn Greenwald tweet invoking the familiar “dual loyalty” trope about U.S. support for Israel, Omar’s sly double entendre, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” roused even Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party leadership to demand an apology from Omar…which she provided, sort of.

Declaring that “Anti-Semitism is real” and “I unequivocally apologize,” Omar then took it all back with her very next statement: “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.” Then hours later, Omar was back on Twitter again, re-tweeting a thread with a former staffer on a failed congressional campaign who claimed his candidate accepted AIPAC money in return for issuing pro-Israel statements. Worse yet, the re-tweeted thread included explicit criticism of Pelosi for demanding Omar’s apology.

Condemnation of the Somali-American first-term Congresswoman’s vicious antisemitism continues to pour in from across the political spectrum. En route to a Texas rally on Monday 11 February, President Donald Trump weighed in to reporters aboard Air Force One, saying that Omar “should be ashamed of herself” for the “all about the Benjamins” comment. The next day, on Tuesday 12 February, Trump turned up the pressure on Omar even further when he called her apology “lame” and demanded “she should resign from congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.” Speaking before a cabinet meeting that day, Trump indicated his understanding of the doctrinal nature of Islamic Jew-hatred, when he added that Omar’s comments were “deep seeded in her heart.”

Powerful Democratic party chairs, including Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerold Nadler (D-NY) and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), issued strong statements condemning Omar’s antisemitic attacks. It may be noted that Omar was recently named to a coveted position on the House Foreign Relations Committee, which, among other things, considers U.S. policy towards Israel. Even so, Speaker Pelosi hasn’t yet given any indication that she is reconsidering Omar’s appointment to the Foreign Relations Committee.

The current storm aside, however, it isn’t as though Omar hasn’t made perfectly clear her antisemitic beliefs for a long time. For example, in a November 16, 2012 tweet, Omar wrote, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Unsurprisingly, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR, the U.S. branch of the jihad terror group HAMAS), leapt to Omar’s defense following her most recent tweets, issuing a statement on Monday 11 February that admitted that “Anti-Semitism is real,” but then added that “it should not be used disingenuously as a tool to silence legitimate criticism of a foreign nation’s discriminatory policies. CAIR applauds Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib for their courage…”

CAIR, of course, along with a long list of Muslim Brotherhood front groups, was named by the Justice Department an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) HAMAS terror funding trial.

Coming full circle back to Congressional campaign donations, it might be noted that both of the newly-elected Muslim Representatives, Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), have accepted thousands of dollars from not only CAIR/HAMAS, but from a slew of individuals who list affiliation with various other Muslim Brotherhood fronts. Among them are ISNA (the Islamic Society of North America, also an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF case), MAS (Muslim American Society, founded by Muslim Brotherhood members), MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Committee, which branched off from the Muslim Brotherhood-founded Islamic Center of Southern California), and MSA (Muslim Student Association, the first Muslim Brotherhood front group established in 1963 in the U.S.). Some of these Brotherhood-affiliated donors are senior officials of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood: for example, Rizwan Jaka, who donated to Omar’s 2018 congressional campaign, sits on the Board of Trustees for the ADAMS (All Dulles Area Muslim Society) Center, which is the hub of operations for the Muslim Brotherhood in Northern Virginia and broader Capital area. Hatem Bazian, another donor to Omar’s campaign, is a regular speaker at the ICNA-MAS (Islamic Circle of North America-Muslim American Society) conferences. ICNA is a founding member of the Muslim Brotherhood political umbrella group, the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO). One more: Zaki Barzinji, who donated to Omar’s 2018 campaign, is the scion of a notorious Muslim Brotherhood family. He is the grandson of Jamal Barzinji, who not only was among the founders of the jihad mosque, Dar al-Hijrah, but also played a key role in the founding of numerous U.S. Muslim Brotherhood front groups, including IIIT (International Institute of Islamic Thought), ISNA, MSA and NAIT (North American Islamic Trust, also named by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF trial). Zaki Barzinji himself has served as an ISNA Board member and is a former president of the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA), which describes itself as “the youth organization of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)”.

Finally, lest there remain any doubt about Rep. Omar’s actual antisemitic sentiments and affiliations, we see that she is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at an Islamic Relief USA dinner to benefit Yemen in Tampa, FL on 23 February 2019. There, she will share the program with IRUSA official Yousef Abdallah, who has displayed his own antisemitism in calling for violence against Jews on social media. Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) is the U.S. branch of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) included on a 2014 list of terror groups. In a revealing post from 29 May 2018, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)’s writer, John Rossomando, published a photo of IRUSA Board Chairman Khaled Lamada flashing the four-finger Brotherhood sign alongside other known Brotherhood loyalists. Despite denials, Lamada’s associations and the photos that attest to them make clear that IRUSA is as closely-connected to the Muslim Brotherhood as its IRW parent.

Rep. Omar, by her jihadist Muslim Brotherhood affiliations and multiple public statements, has shown herself to be deeply antisemitic. Her “apologies” ring hollow. Her hatred against Israel and the Jewish people is on display for all to see. It is highly unlikely she will have a genuine change of heart any time soon. Thus, it is time for Speaker Pelosi to remove her from the Foreign Relations Committee, at a minimum. Her continuing presence in the U.S. Congress is a stain on the nation. She should be disowned by the Democratic Party, recalled, and removed as soon as possible.

Clare M. Lopez is Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy. She previously was a Senior Fellow with the Center as well as with the London Center for Policy Research

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