Ilhan Omar (D-Mogadishu) has finally gotten her comeuppance. She’s just been voted off the House Foreign Relations Committee, as Kevin McCarthy had promised two years ago he would do once the Republicans controlled the House and he was elected Speaker. A report on this well-deserved brush-off can be found here: “House Republicans vote to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee,” by Lexie Schapitl, NPR, February 2, 2023:
Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar was removed by House Republicans from the Foreign Affairs Committee, multiple sources reported on Thursday. (Feb. 20]
Republicans in Congress argued that the Minnesota congresswoman should not serve on the committee due to statements she’s made which have been described by both parties as antisemitic in the past, CNN reported. Such statements she made were related to Israel.
This comes as Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy denied seats on the House Intelligence Committee to Democratic congressmen Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, the report also states.
Once McCarthy learned of the new assignments, he told reporters: “Oh, so now we can vote her off,” according to a report by The Hill. McCarthy promised two years ago that he would remove Omar from the committee when given the chance.
Speaker McCarthy first wanted to make sure that two Democratic Congressmen – Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell – would not continue to serve on the House Intelligence Committee. Once that was accomplished, he turned his attention to removing Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a greatly-desired assignment that normally someone who had been in the House for one term would not receive, but Ilhan Omar pushed aggressively for the assignment, and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though apparently she personally disapproved of Omar, let her have her way; she was assigned to Foreign Affairs in 2020, just as her second term began. Once on the Committee, Omar did exactly as one would have expected: she used her new appointment to criticize Israel and its supporters at every turn, and to oppose any American support for the Jewish state.
With her often repeated antisemitic and anti-Israel rhetoric, Congresswoman Omar has demonstrated that she does not have the objective mindset appropriate for representing the United States on this essential committee,” said GOP congressman Max Miller, who also introduced the resolution to remove Omar from her position. House Republicans advanced the resolution in a 218-209 vote, The Hill reported.
Miller also stated that since becoming a member of Congress Omar has “spread antisemitic tropes and peddled anti-Israel rhetoric, making her unfit to be objective in guiding American foreign policy on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.” He also accused the Minnesota politician of undermining the relationship between Israel and the United States.
Let’s see what Ilhan Omar’s antisemitic tropes and anti-Israel rhetoric amount to. She’s darkly suggested that the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC manages to buy politicians’ support with the promise of helping finance their Congressional or other races: “It’s all about the Benjamins,” she famously said, in discussing AIPAC’s influence in Washington. AIPAC, of course, does not contribute to political campaigns. But why should that keep Omar from making her insidious remark. She later doubled down on her AIPAC remark, accusing Jews of “dual loyalty”: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” She failed to understand that support for a loyal and valuable ally is not the same thing as “allegiance” to that ally. In March 2019, she trivialized the attacks of 9/11, when 2,977 people were killed by Muslim terrorists, describing them as when “some people did something.” On May 16, 2021, she described Israel as “an apartheid state,” and went on to say that those who refused such a characterization needed to “get on the right side of history.” On June 7, 2021, she equated the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban, stating: “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” establishing a false equivalency between Israel, which has the right and responsibility to protect itself and its citizens from all forms of terrorism, and Hamas, a jihad terrorist organization that is actively engaged in committing war crimes, including using civilians as human shields, which is banned under customary international humanitarian law. Asked later if she regretted those remarks, Ilhan Omar said “No.”
Those remarks – and many more of the same anti-Israel and antisemitic ilk – are what got her removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She tried to prevent her removal by voting for a resolution recognizing Israel as a “democracy” and denouncing antisemitism. That fooled no one who has been following her closely, and it surely must have elicited some laughter in the House. For here is the resolution that was both cosponsored, and voted for, by the New and Improved Ilhan Omar: “Ilhan Omar joins resolution recognizing Israel as ‘legitimate and democratic ally,’ denouncing antisemitism,” by Marc Rod, Jewish Insider, February 2, 2023:
America’s involvement in the Middle East and alliance with the United States’ legitimate and trusted partner and ally, the Jewish and democratic State of Israel, cannot be misconstrued for [sic] lack of trust or commitment to the United States,” the resolution reads.
It also states that the House “rejects hate, discrimination, and antisemitism in all forms, including antisemitism masquerading as anti-Israel sentiment,” a frequent point of controversy in debates over Israel.
The resolution further addresses conspiracy theories about Jewish control over the media and politics, as well as dual loyalty accusations faced by American Jews, which Omar has been accused of employing in the past. Omar has claimed to have been unaware of these tropes and has apologized for or walked back many of the remarks cited in the removal resolution.
It notes that “Jewish Americans face rampant antisemitism in various forms” including “age-old tropes such as controlling the government and the media, [wielding] too much influence in decision-making bodies, seeking political, financial, and global dominance in society, and as greedy ‘money-hungry’ people” and “have also been accused of being more loyal to Israel than to the United States.”
The House, the resolution states, “explicitly condemns perpetuation of antisemitic tropes, including claims of dual loyalty, control, and other conspiracy theories antithetical to American values.”
The resolution further ties “barbarous anti-Israel terrorism” to a centuries-long history of antisemitism.
It was no coincidence that the resolution came before the House, so that Ilhan Omar could vote for it in her new guise as a supporter of Israel, just an hour before the House considered the motion to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Now she can present herself as having tried, really tried, to be a supporter of Israel, and what did it get her? She was still pushed off the Foreign Affairs Committee by unforgiving and fanatical Republicans.
Victimhood is powerful. Just watch Omar beat that drum from here on out.
Still, Ilhan Omar’s removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee on February 2 is proof, yet again, that the Wheels of Justice grind exceeding slow, but they do grind.