Chicago Mayor: Rep. Omar is crossing the line

Rahm Emanuel says Rep. Ilhan Omar is crossing the line by "casting Jewish Americans as the other".

Ben Ariel,

Rahm Emanuel
Rahm Emanuel
Reuters

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and said she is crossing the line with anti-Semitic remarks in “casting Jewish Americans as the other”, JTA reports.

Omar recently came under fire after she suggested on Twitter that Republicans were attacking her at the behest of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.

She subsequently issued a half-hearted apology before ultimately deleting the controversial tweets.

This week she caused another uproar when, at a public event, she appeared to refer to domestic support for Israel as “allegiance to a foreign country”, leading the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives to work on a new resolution condemning anti-Semitism.

In a piece for The Atlantic, Emanuel wrote that Omar “is suggesting a dual loyalty that calls our devotion to America into question” over support for Israel.

Emanuel, the first Jewish mayor of Chicago and like Omar a Democrat, said he is “sensitive” to the charge of dual loyalty because he has been accused of being a citizen of Israel (his father immigrated to the United States from Israel) and he had to make public his US birth certificate during his first campaign for Congress “to disprove false assertions about my background and loyalties.”

He said questions of dual loyalty have dogged Jews around the world for centuries.

“In embracing it, Omar is associating herself with calamities from the Spanish Inquisition to the Russian pogroms to the Holocaust. That’s not historical company that any American should want to keep,” he wrote.

Emanuel pointed to several times while serving as senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and chief of staff to President Barack Obama that he championed American interests when they come into tension with Israeli goals.

“My allegiance to this country wasn’t in question then. And it shouldn’t be now — nor should that of other American Jews,” he wrote. “That would be just as wrong as suggesting that all Muslims are potential terrorists and should be banned from entering this country.”

The resolution on anti-Semitism in the US House of Representatives hit a snag when it was rewritten following complaints, and lawmakers on Thursday voted to advance a measure that adds Islamophobia and white supremacy.

Before Thursday’s vote on the resolution, Rep. Ted Deutch, a Jewish Democrat from South Florida, called out lawmakers from both parties for anti-Semitism and said anti-Semitism should be condemned on its own.

“We are having this debate because of the language one of our colleagues, language that suggests Jews like me who serve in the United States in Congress and whose father earned a purple heart fighting the Nazis in the Battle of the Bulge, that we are not loyal Americans?" said Deutch, as quoted by The Hill.

"Why are we unable to singularly condemn anti-Semitism? Why can't we call it anti-Semitism and show we've learned the lessons of history?” he asked.

He warned that public officials alleging those who support Israel have "dual loyalty" can lead to violent consequences.

“Jews control the world? Jews care only about money? Jews have dual loyalty and can't be patriotic members of the country which they live?” he concluded. “Words matter. For generations, they have had dangerous consequences for me, for my family and for my people. This shouldn't be so hard.”




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