Ilhan Omar and the Silencing of Those Who Speak the Truth

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Ilhan Omar and the Silencing of Those Who Speak the Truth

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In mid-February, Minnesota’s representative from its fifth district: the newly sworn-in Ilhan Omar, has already found herself under immense scrutiny from her peers and is now facing major bout of negative press coverage from several news outlets such as Fox News, The National Review, The Jerusalem Post and a multitude of other outlets.
Omar, a Somali-born Muslim-American, spoke publicly about the influence of the nation of Israel on American politics and their lobby heavily influencing American political officials. She accused American officials, correctly, of being overly-influenced by that lobby (Al Jazeera reports that the United States spent $3 billion in 2018 alone) and was immediately accused by her peers of “Anti-Semitism.”
Within a month of her taking office, a moment of shocking bipartisan unity occurred against her. Nancy Pelosi, the sitting Speaker of the House, immediately called for her apology along with dozens of conservative and Republican officials doing the same. She was accused of being insensitive to the people of the Jewish faith and eventually apologized for her remarks, citing that she is being educated by the Jewish people in Congress about being more culturally sensitive in the future.
However, her only crime was not persecuting or calling out a single Jewish person or Israeli, but rather calling out the genuine fact that Israel has an unjust and undue influence over American politics. Billions of dollars a year come from America towards the nation of Israel, but on top of that, there has been a palpable conflict between Israel and the Muslim countries around it for the better part of a century.
Omar, a newcomer to politics, is still free from the influence of lobbying and special interests that so many of her peers in politics have, and her speaking the truth reveals too much about Israel’s bipartisan influence. She’s fallen victim to a common ploy used by political figures against Muslim-Americans which is the accusation of Anti-Semitism. This is often used as an easy and acceptable way for Muslim-Americans to be discredited as the cultural strife between Jewish and Muslim people is well-known.
This strife boils down the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which has long seen Israel oppress the people of Palestine, shrink the size of their territories further and further and then blame them for retaliating against them.
There is a real Israel lobby in America, and Omar calling it out isn’t a problem, nor is it Anti-Semitic to say so. Too often that phrase in and of itself is used against Muslims to discredit them and the liberal use of the phrase devalues legitimate claims Anti-Semitism and silences people speaking out. Ultimately, the accusation harms Muslims and hides the truth.

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