Ilhan Omar and Shifting Democratic Winds on Israel and Palestine

There is a real, and frightening, rise in anti-Semitism in the United States right now, particularly coming from an emboldened white nationalist movement and its political mouthpieces. But it should go without saying that valid criticism of powerful political lobbies like AIPAC—whose leaders have boasted of their political pull—should be fair game. It’s clear, however, that many of Omar’s critics intentionally misread her tweet—which was flip, and assumed a kind of familiarity and casual tone that didn’t serve her point very well—by conflating criticism of AIPAC with anti-Semitism and turning a poorly framed tweet into a bad faith media frenzy. This is also not the first time that Omar has come under fire for her views on Israel and Palestine, despite consistently placing the political struggle against anti-Semitism alongside that of anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination. (“Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are two sides of the same bigoted coin,” she wrote in November as she prepared for her freshman orientation in Washington.)

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