My mother and her parents – my grandparents – left their village in the Ukraine in 1921, then spent two years in a barn on the outskirts of Odessa waiting for papers and tickets which allowed them in 1923 to come and enter the United States.
They weren’t Holocaust survivors because the Nazi war machine didn’t reach the area where they had lived in Ukraine until 1942. The reason they ran from the village in 1921 was because the village was the site of a murderous pogrom during which my grandmother saw her father - my great-grandfather – shot dead in street.
In other words, my family history makes me somewhat sensitive to anti-Semitism, as Grandpa would say ‘vishtais?’ (read: understand).
I just finished watching the House vote to throw Ilhan Omar off the Foreign Affairs Committee for remarks she has made about the influence of Jewish donations in American politics, as well as comments in which she refers to Israel’s West Bank strategy as ‘genocide’ and an attempt to sow anger and distrust between Muslims and Jews.
Omar has also made some not-so insidious comments about how Jewish political donations to Members of the House are used to promote not just support of Israel, but also used to create a ‘dual loyalty’ of the recipients of this money both to America and to the Jewish State.
Over the past decades, the United States has sent more than $142 billion in aid to Israel, money entirely used for arms which Israel then purchases from the United States. This works out to about $3 billion a year, a commitment the U.S. began making to Israel beginning under Nixon in 1973.
Voting how a lobbyist asks you to vote in exchange for financial support is not only seen as a necessary function of political activity in D.C. but defines what lobbyists are supposed to do. In the case of Israel’s yearly military aid, the lobbying is done by the American-Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an organization for which I worked in 1990-91.
What did I do for AIPAC? I would bring members of the House and the Senate to meetings with donors who lived and worked in New York City, primarily men and women who held positions in Wall Street firms.
I didn’t worry about Congressional members from districts whose populations included large numbers of Jews. My concern was to bring together political donors with representatives from states like North Dakota or Montana which weren’t the kinds of places where many Jews lived, and therefore might be represented by members of both parties who needed a quick lesson on why Israel needed their support for the yearly military aid.
Now back to Ilhan Omar and her belief that cashing a donation check from AIPAC will create a ‘dual loyalty’ between the District of Columbia and Tel Aviv.
What nonsense. What utter and complete stupidity which, frankly, creates a sense of benign anti-Semitism, at least in me. I refer to Omar’s anti-Semitism as benign because at least she’s not saying that Jews should be herded into boxcars and taken off to the camps.
Omar doesn’t represent some outlying, prairie district in Montana where the people are outnumbered by the cows. She represents Minneapolis, which is about as sophisticated and educated an urban community as you can get.
Want to know why Marjorie Taylor Greene sounds like such a dumb schmuck? Just take a ride through Ringgold or Boynton or some of the other towns in Georgia’s 14th CD – the Census says that 80% of the residents in those places are high school graduates, but that doesn’t mean they can read or write.
So MJT apologizes for being worried about Jewish space lasers, but she was just unduly influenced by what she saw on Internet TV. And Ilhan Omar apologizes is after some of her Jewish colleagues explained to her why her ‘dual loyalty’ comments might be misconstrued.
As Grandpa would say, ‘chub en drerd’ (read: stick it up your ass) to both of them, okay?