Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is a lost cause, and most Jews know that. She will just go on badmouthing Jews and supporters of Israel until she leaves office, hopefully in the next few years.
Omar famously attacked Jews and supporters of Israel during a talk she gave at Busboys and Poets bookstore in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. She claimed that supporters of Israel were disloyal to the US and that many of her Jewish constituents and Jewish congressional colleagues were Islamophobic. She said:
I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is O.K. for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country…a lot of Jewish colleagues, a lot of our Jewish constituents, a lot of our allies, go to thinking that everything we say about Israel, to be anti-Semitic, because we are Muslim.
Rashida Tlaib, Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) were on that podium with Omar, and they said absolutely nothing about these goings on. They could have disagreed with her. They didn’t. Tlaib even applauded Omar’s remarks about dual loyalty to Israel.
Silence is consent, Pocan, Jayapal and Tlaib! Now we know not to expect much help from those three in opposing the antisemitism of the far-left. When it comes to the leftmost wing of the Democratic Party, the Jews are on their own. The only time the far-left will criticize antisemitism is when the antisemites are people who the far-left already dislikes for other reasons. Far-leftists will not criticize their own for antisemitism. On the contrary, they will defend it.
Ted Lieu’s Big Mistake
What is more shocking is that Ted Lieu (D-CA), who is not known for hostility to Israel or Jews, echoed Omar’s charge on August 16, 2019 when he tweeted:
“Dear @USAmbIsrael: You are an American. Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign power.”
Lieu’s tweet was no momentary lapse of judgement. The California Democrat, who represents Beverly Hills with its many Jewish constituents, then saw fit to go on Wolf Blitzer’s CNN show and say:
I think he should resign, because he doesn’t seem to understand that his allegiance is to America, not to a foreign power.
Just in case there was any doubt about what Lieu meant, he repeated that language later in the interview.
Oy vey! Where does one even begin?
First of all, US Ambassador Friedman serves at the pleasure of the US president, not at the pleasure of Ted Lieu or the US Congress. In expressing approval of Israel’s decision to bar a visit by Omar and Tlaib (Tlaib was later admitted), Ambassador Friedman was merely agreeing with the views of his boss Donald Trump, who had tweeted on August 15, 2019 that:
It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!
Ted has an itchy trigger finger when it comes to firing off accusations of allegiance to a foreign power against Jews. The only allegiance here is Ambassador Friedman’s allegiance to his boss, President Trump.
Lieu is himself an immigrant. Someday he could be on the receiving end of such accusations. He of all people should know better than to accuse others of loyalty to a foreign power. And what about Rashida Tlaib then? Is she loyal to Palestine? Is everybody loyal to any foreign country that they support?
And what about American diplomats such as John Bolton who support Britain in its disagreement with the EU? Are such American diplomats loyal to Britain? Should they also resign from their positions because of allegations of dual loyalty? They are merely agreeing with their boss, just as Ambassador Friedman did. Why the double standard, Ted? Are you willing to accuse Ambassador Bolton of dual loyalty to Britain? Why not? You did it to Ambassador Friedman.
At some point Rep. Lieu, who is not stupid, realized that he had made a mistake and had to say something about it. So Lieu then gave the usual minimizing I-had-no-idea-what-I-was-saying excuse that politicians always give when they get into trouble:
It has been brought to my attention that my prior tweet to @USAmbIsrael raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community. That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the tweet.
“I’m sorry for writing it. That’s why I deleted it,” Lieu added in a later tweet.
Let’s look at Ted’s mealy-mouthed apology more closely. Lieu writes “It has been brought to my attention…” Huh? Did Ted not know what he himself had tweeted? Someone else had to tell him what he wrote?
Is Ted trying to insinuate that someone on his staff wrote the offensive tweet? But that is not possible, because Lieu then went on CNN and personally repeated the same accusation of dual loyalty that he had made in his tweet. In fact, Ted repeated it twice.
That makes three times that Lieu made his accusation of allegiance to a foreign power. Why doesn’t Lieu apologize for what he said on CNN too? Why is he only apologizing for his one tweet? Does Ted still think that Ambassador Friedman should resign, as he said on CNN? And why should Ambassador Friedman resign, if Ted is no longer accusing him of dual loyalty?
Lieu is now hunkered down in minimization mode. He may think that his pro-Israel Jewish supporters in LA will forget about it. But I hope that for years to come they will remember what he said, and support him less because of it.
If Lieu wants to become another Mark Pocan or Pramila Jayapal then so be it. It will be harder for him to get away with such anti-Israel behavior than it is for them. He represents more Jews. If the time ever comes when a congressman from Beverly Hills can join the Squad then this whole country is in big trouble, not just the Jews.
President Trump’s Mistake
President Trump then jumped into the disloyalty fray. Rather than complaining that a Jewish US ambassador was being disloyal to America, as Ted Lieu did, President Trump complained that Jewish Democrats were being disloyal to Israel. He said the following at the White House on August 21, 2019:
If you want to vote Democrat, you are being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel.
Those who wish to cover up for left’wing and not-so-left antisemitism have criticized Trump for this statement. Others have as well.
So let me state this flatly. Anyone who votes for Ilhan Omar is being very disloyal to the Jewish people. But I do not agree that anyone who votes Democratic is being very disloyal to Jews. I make campaign donations to Democratic candidates and expect to vote for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttegieg or Cory Booker in November 2020. It is not that anyone who votes for Democrats is very disloyal to Jewish people. It is that anyone who votes for certain Democrats, including Omar, Tlaib, Pocan and Jayapal is very disloyal to Jewish people.
It may not be disloyal to Jewish people to vote for Ted Lieu. There is still time for him to change the road he’s on.
President Trump should have left out the second part of his statement, “and very disloyal to Israel”, or else worded it differently. It does raise a specter of dual loyalty, due to its use of the word “loyalty.”
But was Trump’s statement antisemitic, as some defenders of the far-left’s antisemitism say? Come on. Trump wasn’t accusing any Jews of disloyalty to the US.
Lieu and Omar, on the other hand were claiming that Jews who support Israel, or at least some of them, were exhibiting dual loyalty. Lieu even called for the US ambassador to Israel David Friedman to resign for his alleged disloyalty to the US. As if!
Trump’s statement was thus the mirror opposite of Lieu and Omar’s. He wasn’t accusing any pro-Israel Jews of being disloyal to the US, as Lieu and Omar did. In fact, he wasn’t accusing anyone of disloyalty to the US, only to Israel.
Imagine a dystopian world where a Jewish US ambassador who supports his pro-Israel boss needs to resign due to charges of alleged disloyalty to the US, as Ted Lieu demanded. That ambassador would get labeled as being a traitor. It would reflect poorly on all Jews. Ted Lieu actually went on CNN and with a straight face demanded that happen.
Ted Lieu is an idiot. I am done with Ted Lieu.