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How Does Ilhan Omar Really Feel About Iran?

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in 2016. Photo: Lorie Shaull via Flickr.

Last week’s launch of more than 300 drones and missiles marked the first time that Iran had attacked Israel from its territory. For years, Iran’s malign behavior has focused on accelerating its nuclear weapons program and strengthening its terror proxies. The country’s decision to directly confront Israel sparked condemnations from across the aisle, with Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) affirming that “as Israel faces this vicious attack from Iran, America must show our full resolve to stand with our critical ally. The world must be assured: Israel is not alone.” Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ (D-NY)  online post mirrored a similar promise that America will “stand with the people of Israel during this moment of significant challenge.”

Unsurprisingly, members of the Democratic Party’s far-left faction, known as “The Squad,” remained quiet Saturday evening after news broke of Iran’s unprecedented assault against the Jewish nation. After years of maligning Israel in Congress, their refusal to immediately respond to the Islamic Republic’s blatant aggression illustrates a calculated effort aimed at fostering a false moral equivalence between Israel and Iran, the leading global sponsor of terror.

For her part, Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (MN) released a delayed statement on Sunday, nearly 24 hours following Iran’s missile barrage against Israel. Her comments denounced “leaders in Washington” rushing to provide “additional offensive weapons to the Israeli military,” and also linked Iran’s terrorist intentions with Israel’s alleged actions in Syria earlier in April, which resulted in the killing of General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and a mastermind of attacks against Israeli civilians. That’s why he was in Syria.

Indeed, Omar’s connecting the incidents reflects her pattern of distortions about Israel’s strategic and political realities in the region.

Omar’s deployment of troubling language and her postponed communication in the aftermath of last Saturday’s attack embodies the politician’s habit of redirecting criticism away from Iran through a dual approach of issuing libelous accusations against Israel, in tandem with ignoring Iranian terror.

For example, this week, the US House of Representatives passed a series of pro-Israel and anti-Iran bills and resolutions. One item considered was a straightforward resolution condemning “Iran’s Unprecedented Drone and Missile Attack on Israel.” The legislative proposal passed the House on Thursday in an overwhelming 404-14 vote. Omar was one of 13 Democrats voting against the non-controversial measure, which denounces Iran’s brazen actions targeting millions of Israelis this past Saturday and reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense.

Another bill on the floor Monday —  the “No US Financing for Iran Act” — split liberal-leaning legislators, with 104 Democrats voting against restricting US financial entities, such as the Treasury Department, from conducting specific transactions with Iran. It bears mentioning that Minority Leader Jeffries joined Omar and over 100 progressive colleagues in voting against the measure. That approximately half of House Democrats blocked a motion that would impose financial penalties on the world’s most potent terrorist arm suggests a disturbing depth of ideological capture within the party’s movement. It’s a phenomenon that was absent decades ago, and yet is now stoked by lawmakers like Omar, whose reach is maximized by an intersectional agenda championed by far-leftists and accommodated by moderates.

Moreover, Omar’s views not only fall outside the American mainstream, but her instincts to placate Iran are at odds with an increasing number of Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, whose commitments to coalescing against extremism were evidenced on Saturday, as both countries played parts in intercepting Iranian missiles bound for Israel.

In an interview with Israeli Public Broadcaster KAN News this week, a source from the Saudi royal family alluded to Iran fomenting terror and its involvement in the October 7 massacre, claiming that Iran’s role in Hamas’ attack stemmed from a desire to thwart an Israel-Saudi normalization agreement.

And since reports first surfaced highlighting Iran’s complicity in plotting the events of October 7, more details are emerging on the sums of cash gifted to Hamas from Iran, with some of the payments totaling millions dollars directly handed to Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza.

This month, The Times of London revealed details surrounding the economic windfall Hamas receives from Tehran in an exclusive report. The Times feature outlines a batch of secret letters discovered by Israel’s military, with some showing specific payments being made to the terrorist group between 2014 and 2020, totaling over $150 million. Omar’s refusal to acknowledge evidence implicating Iran in the October 7 attacks demonstrates a concerted policy of protecting a regime whose rogue actions and threatening rhetoric take aim at the Jewish state, and the entire free world.

In fact, mere hours after Palestinian terrorists perpetrated the worst mass attack against the Jews since the Holocaust, Omar was demanding “deescelation and ceasefire.” Over six months later, Omar’s calls for a ceasefire repeatedly consists of lofty language on the need for “peace” and “humanity.” Yet absent from these proclamations are any mention of Iran. Instead, the Minnesota Congresswoman persists in granting Iran a pass for its evil behavior, while sharing continuous streams of propaganda directed at Israel. What’s more, by blocking bills designed to kneecap the Islamic regime’s financial flow, Omar is indicating that the antisemitism defining her Congressional tenure is now manifesting through a carefully crafted platform, rendering America’s foreign enemy free of any disapproval.

Since taking office in 2019, Omar has advanced the Democratic Party’s absorption of an ideology antithetical to American ideals and Western values. Her unwillingness to condemn Iran cements her stain on Congress and piques the curiosity of those questioning which side of the anti-Iran terror equation Ilhan Omar falls on?

Irit Tratt is an independent writer residing in New York. Follow her on X @Irit_Tratt. 

The post How Does Ilhan Omar Really Feel About Iran? first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Advocacy Group Attempts to Shore Up Support for Israel Among US Democrats

US President Joe Biden addresses rising levels of antisemitism, during a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony, at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, US, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

A pro-Israel advocacy group is attempting to quell fears among US Democratic politicians that expressing support for the Jewish state amid the ongoing war in Gaza will lead to electoral defeat in November. 

Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), a group that advocates for pro-Israel policies within the Democratic Party, circulated a memo this week explaining that the war in Gaza is simply not a top priority for most of the electorate. The memo, first acquired by Axios news website, asserts that “it just isn’t true” that Democratic support for Israel will come at an electoral cost. 

The group argues that a series of misleading polls has caused Democratic elected officials to become more tepid in their support for the Jewish state. 

To bolster its claims, DMFI points to a poll conducted by the New York Times in May which revealed that only 2 percent of voters cite Israel, Palestinians, Hamas, or Gaza as their most important issue. Nonetheless, the Times tried to exaggerate the extent to which voters care about the Israel-Hamas war by highlighting the 5 percent of voters who cite foreign policy as their biggest issue, according to DMFI. However, these 5 percent of voters did not identify if the war in Gaza is their major foreign policy concern.

The group also points out a Harvard-Harris poll from April which showed that Americans overwhelmingly side with Israel in its ongoing war effort. Eighty percent of Americans support Israel and only 20 percent back Hamas, the poll revealed.

DMFI also suggests that Israel’s ongoing military offensive against Hamas has not had a noticeable impact on President Joe Biden’s national standing. According to polling data aggregated by FiveThirtyEight, the president’s approval rating on Oct. 7of last year stood at 39.6 percent, and on April 23 last month, his approval stood at 40 percent. The same poll reveals that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s lead over Joe Biden did not grow over the same time period. 

DMFI president Mark Mellman told Axios that anti-Israel activists represent a small fringe of the American electorate. 

“People sometimes mistake volume for percentage, and the fact that some people are very loud doesn’t make them the majority. … It doesn’t even make them a substantial minority,” Mellman said.

The group’s efforts to reach out to Democrats come on the heels of a high-pressure effort by left-wing groups to force the Democratic establishment to stop supporting Israel. Anti-Israel organizations have organized efforts to encourage voters in Democratic primaries to vote “uncommitted” in lieu of voting for Biden. Moreover, nearly every appearance by Biden in recent months has been marked by the presence of scores of angry anti-Israel protesters

The relationship between Democratic politicians and the Jewish state has significantly soured in the months following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people in southern Israel. High-profile Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) have suggested that Israel is committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians.

Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA) signed onto a letter urging Biden to pause weapons shipments to Israel. Biden vowed to stop arms deliveries to Israel if the Israeli army attempts to dismantle the remaining Hamas battalions within the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, expressing concern about the prospect of civilian casualties during such an offensive.

The post Advocacy Group Attempts to Shore Up Support for Israel Among US Democrats first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Hate crimes in Toronto are predominantly antisemitic—and the numbers continue to rise: TPS security and intelligence commander

Antisemitic hate crimes continue to account for more than any other category of reported hate crimes in Toronto, according to the head of Toronto police intelligence. Superintendent Katherine Stephenson of Toronto Police Service (TPS) confirmed the ongoing spike in hate occurrences during a presentation at Holy Blossom Temple on May 29, where she addressed 350 […]

The post Hate crimes in Toronto are predominantly antisemitic—and the numbers continue to rise: TPS security and intelligence commander appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Israel Is Not Jewish People,’ New York Times ‘Daily’ Guest Really Wants You to Know

Anti-Israel protesters outside Columbia University in Manhattan, New York City, April 22, 2024. Photo: USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

When producers from the New York Times podcast “The Daily” posted on social media looking for “Jewish students who represent a range of feelings and experiences, from being enthusiastically pro Palestinian to enthusiastically pro Israel, and everything in between,” I replied, “This is a trap! They’ll use the ‘pro-Palestinian’ (the polite term they use for the ones who want to wipe Israel off the map) ones to make it sound like the Jewish community is divided and give listeners the illusion that the anti-Israel protests aren’t antisemitic.”

Sure enough, the Times podcast episode that finally aired, headlined, “The Campus Protesters Explain Themselves,” included three students.

Mustafa Yowell, of Irving, Texas, said his mother was from “Nablus, Palestine” and described himself as a Palestinian Arab. He’s a student at the University of Texas, Austin who complained to the Times that “two IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers had infiltrated the campus.” By “IDF soldiers” he meant Israeli students at the university who had, like many Israelis, served in the army before college.

The second student interviewed, Elisha Baker, a student at Columbia University, described himself as a proud Zionist and a graduate of Jewish day school.

And the third student, Jasmine Jolly, a student at Cal Poly Humboldt, described herself as the daughter of a Catholic father and “of Ashkenazi descent on my mom’s side.” Jolly showed up at protests with a sign that said “in honor of my Jewish ancestors, I stand with Palestine.” Jolly also chanted “there is only one solution, intifada revolution.”

“There’s nothing that has come across to me as antisemitic if you are able to pause and remember that Israel is not Jewish people and Zionism is not Jewish people,” Jolly explained to the Times audience.

Jolly read an email from her Jewish grandfather claiming, “Israel is an increasingly apartheid state.”

This is just such a misleading view of reality on campus and in American Jewish life. Even polls like Pew that use an expansive definition of who is Jewish find overwhelming Jewish support for Israel and negligible support for Hamas, including among younger Jews 18 to 34.

In reality, a lot of the anti-Israel protesters aren’t even Palestinians; they are European or Asian students or white or black Americans who either have been brainwashed by their professors or who have underlying, pre-existing antisemitic attitudes. Few of them have been to the Middle East and many of them are ignorant about basic facts about it — remember the Wall Street Journal piece, “From Which River to Which Sea?

“The Daily” episode made it crisply concrete, with the Times representing Jews as being split 50-50, with one normative Jew and one Jew chanting “there is only one solution, intifada revolution.” That’s ridiculous, yet a similar approach contaminates other Times coverage of the Jewish community, misleadlingly portraying American Jewry as deeply divided rather than unified around the goals of getting the hostages back, eliminating the threat of Hamas, and making American college campuses safe for Jewish students.

The Times was at this game well before Oct. 7, 2023, proclaiming “the unraveling of American Zionism” and trotting out old chestnuts such as the Reform movement’s Pittsburgh Platform of 1885 and the New York Times‘ favorite Jew, Peter Beinart.

I find myself rolling my eyes at such depictions, but there is clearly some audience for them among the Times readership and top editorial ranks. The Times executive editor, Joe Kahn, told Semafor’s Ben Smith in a May interview, “I’m not an active Jew.” Maybe the New York Times can sell sweatshirts: “Inactive Jew.” Who, exactly, is supposed to find that distinction between “active” and “inactive” Jews reassuring? Maybe they can put it on top of the front page in place of “All the News That’s Fit to Print”: “Edited by someone who wants the public to know he’s not an active Jew.”

Of all the moments to choose to distance oneself publicly from the Jewish people, this is sure quite one to choose.

This “Daily” episode seems calculated to appeal to the inactive Jews, and to others who want justification to believe it’s not antisemitic to set up on Passover and falsely accuse Israel of genocide. It’s nice for the Times to include a Zionist voice on the program, but he wound up sandwiched in between a Palestinian and an “only one solution, intifada revolution” person. It’s fairly typical for the New York Times these days, but it isn’t pretty.

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here. He also writes at TheEditors.com.

The post ‘Israel Is Not Jewish People,’ New York Times ‘Daily’ Guest Really Wants You to Know first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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