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Does America Need More Ilhan Omars? And Are We Allowed to Ask?

by Matthew Monforton Read Profile arrow_right_alt

“Is it possible to write honestly about the Israel lobby’s power in D.C. without using any anti-Semitic ‘tropes’ at all?”  That’s the question self-described conservative Andrew Sullivan asked this weekend in the Intelligencer.  Talk of the “Israel lobby” didn’t just pop up out of nowhere, of course, but was injected into the nation’s discourse by what Sullivan acknowledges as anti-Semitic tropes recently used by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

Sullivan uses a trope of his own, and a patently false at that: “many of [the Israel lobby’s] supporters are Evangelical Protestants who want to accelerate the Second Coming.”  No prominent believer in Christian eschatology thinks anyone can or should attempt to accelerate Jesus’ return.  Quite the contrary – the Lord’s tarrying means more time to evangelize a fallen world.

Sullivan’s larger point, however, is legitimate.  Ever since President Harry Truman recognized Israel in May 1948, its supporters have had considerable influence over American foreign policy.  It is not anti-Semitic to say so or question the consequences of that influence.  And there’s nothing wrong with asking Israel’s unwavering supporters why we think the way we do.  Some of us will point to history, some to Israel’s remarkable economic and political successes.  And yes, some of us will point to theology, beginning with God’s promise to Abraham that He would bless those that bless him and curse those that curse him.

But if we’re going to have an honest conversation about the “Israel Lobby,” then let’s also have one about why we’re talking about it.

The “Israel Lobby” is currently in the news because Omar, a Minnesota congresswoman, put it there.

Except that she’s not really from Minnesota.  She and her family had been weathering Somalia’s civil war in the 1990s in a Kenyan camp until they were rescued by America’s gracious refugee policies.

And it isn’t just Omar who deserves blame (or credit, depending on your point of view).  Many of Omar’s constituents are also Somali immigrants and, for too many of them, her anti-Semitism is a feature, not a bug.

The problem is not confined to Somali immigrants.  As Roger Simon at PJ Media put it a few days ago, “it is clear the new anti-Semitism, from our college campuses to the streets of Paris, is coming largely from Islamic terrorists and their sympathizers augmented and multiplied by the left.” And as Mark Steyn said last week, “young Muslims do not like Jews: that is a simple fact, and it’s a waste of everybody’s time denying it. Where Muslims predominate, Jews vanish….”

Europe has shown that mass immigration of Muslims impacts more than just foreign policy towards Israel.  It spikes terrorism rates, rape rates, and anti-Semitic violence so pernicious that European Jews whose parents and grandparents survived Hitler now feel compelled to flee.

This month’s issue of The Atlantic contains a lengthy piece by David Frum critical of America’s capricious immigration and asylum policies.  He concludes correctly that “Americans are entitled to consider carefully whom they will number among themselves.”  But only the right people should be doing the numbering.  “If liberals insist that only fascists will enforce borders,” he writes, “then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals refuse to do.”

By “fascists,” Frum clearly means those us who question whether America needs more Ilhan Omars.  That’s a question warranting the same respect as Sullivan’s questions about Israel’s supporters, and certainly more respect than what Frum seems prepared to offer.

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