Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Rep. Ilhan Omar defended the anti-Semitic Black Israelites hate group in January. In February, she was originally scheduled to speak at an Islamic Relief USA dinner alongside IRUSA’s Yousef Abdallah who had endorsed violence against Jews and described former Governor Chris Christie “down on his knees before the jewish lords and masters… only money makes stuff like this happen.”
Abdallah’s comments were very similar to the anti-Semitic Twitter slurs that got Omar in trouble.
That’s not a coincidence. Omar’s worldview, including her anti-Semitism, was shaped by a familiar network of Islamist organizations which control life for most Muslims in the United States.
In March, Rep. Omar is headed to California to speak at CAIR’s Los Angeles dinner. There she will appear alongside CAIR’s Florida boss Hassan Shibly who has defended Hamas and vocally praised Hezbollah. “Israel & it’s supporters are enemies of God and humanity!” he had tweeted.
Shibly has vocally defended Rep. Omar over her comments about Jews.
Rep. Omar’s comments about Jews are a commonplace CAIR talking point. Nihad Awad, the co-founder and executive director of CAIR, had made an even more explicit version of the same argument. “Who of Clinton’s advisors … is opposing the latest agreement with Iraq? Look at their names. Look at … their ethnic or religious or racial background.”
“The Jews plan to distort Islam’s image and have succeeded in their plans,” he later claimed.
Before that, Awad had been the PR director for the Islamic Association of Palestine, CAIR’s previous incarnation, which had published “America’s Greatest Enemy: The Jew! And an Unholy Alliance!” The hate pamphlet claimed that, “the Jews through their Zionist machinery have power over all the agencies and organs of the United States government.”
It’s no coincidence that Rep. Omar is speaking at the events of two Islamist organizations which have a history of promoting the claim that Jews control America using money. It’s where she got those views.
The coverage of Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitic tweet has treated its bigotry as if it were her own. It’s not.
Rep. Omar isn’t just dropping in on CAIR. She had also served on CAIR-Minnesota’s advisory board. And her trip to California is a matter of repaying her biggest group of supporters for their backing.
Omar had benefited from three CAIR fundraising events in California. While she had accused pro-Israel politicians of taking money from pro-Israel Jews, she’s been taking money from pro-terror Muslims.
Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitism was absorbed, along with other even uglier views, from the Islamist lobby of hate groups like CAIR. And Omar’s career shows that there is no Islamist agenda too extreme for her.
In 2017, she was one of only two representatives to vote against a bill limiting terrorist life insurance payouts.
In 2016, Omar sent a letter in defense of 9 ISIS recruits in Minnesota. "A long-term prison sentence for one who chose violence to combat direct marginalization is a statement that our justice system misunderstands the guilty," she wrote of the ISIS recruits. "People seek violent solutions when the process established for enacting change is inaccessible to them."
Rep. Omar doesn’t just hate Jews and oppose Israel. These are only components of her Islamist worldview which sparks with sympathy for Islamist terrorists in America, as much as in Israel.
Congress doesn’t have an Omar problem. It has a CAIR problem. And that’s a much harder problem to solve than soliciting a non-apology from Rep. Omar for letting her anti-Semitic slip show.
Over time, CAIR leaders learned how to say the same ugly things in a more deniable tone. Rep. Omar is learning the same tricks. But coded bigotry isn’t an improvement. It is in some ways worse.
Rep. Omar has tended to be condemned and to apologize for word choices. But her word choices are not inopportune. And they are not the issue. The Islamist politician wasn’t blindly stumbling into offensive territory because of her word choices. Her word choices reflect the stark apocalyptic terms in which she sees the conflict with Israel.
Omar’s worldview is CAIR’s world. And CAIR’s worldview is that of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood’s Sayyid Qutb had claimed that the Jews use money to control the world. Hamas, an arm of the Brotherhood, had claimed in its charter that, "with their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others... With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests."
Pull on the string of Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitism and you go right back to the Muslim Brotherhood. Omar is just a symptom of the problem. And the problem is the Brotherhood’s presence in American politics.
Omar’s hateful views are unremarkable among Muslim Brotherhood activists. They’re so commonplace that they’re little more than background noise. Conspiracy theories about global influence are used to explain how the Jews were able to win back their independence and maintain an independent country.
When Omar tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel”, she was echoing the same worldview from another angle. It’s the tip of an Islamist conspiracy iceberg that goes far beyond a current clash with Hamas and instead all but contends that the Jews had started WWI and all the other wars in order to achieve their geopolitical goals.
In the Koranic and Qutubian worldview, the Jew is a primal enemy of Islam. The Jews are behind all the conflicts and there will be no peace until a final apocalypse in which the Muslims wipe out the Jews.
And then Allah will awaken the people.
Opposition to Israel and support for Hamas helps Muslims affirm the role of the Jews as the fundamental enemies of Islam, who prevent the supremacy of Islam from taking hold.
Islam’s victory can only be achieved by destroying the Jews.
These are the ingredients baked long and hard to make Rep. Omar’s worldview. And this is only the beginning. As more Muslims are elected to higher office, more of them will be Islamists.
CAIR has a solid grip on Muslim communities in America. As more Muslim are elected to national offices, CAIR’s agenda will sink even deeper into the national and local legislatures. That is what we should be talking about. The only lesson Rep. Omar has learned is to choose her words more carefully and that will make it easier for Democrats to ignore her anti-Semitism and harder for Jewish activists to complain about it. But Rep. Omar’ convictions, grounded in her religion, are not about to change or go anywhere.
There’s no point in talking about Rep. Omar, unless we’re also going to talk about CAIR.