Accuracy in Media

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), has made a number of clearly anti-Semitic remarks, and Democrats in Congress must decide whether to censure her for her comments or risk being labeled an anti-Semitic party.

What they need most is a way out of the controversy, and their friends in the mainstream media are trying to help out.

HuffPost quoted an anonymous Republican member of Congress to bolster Omar’s case.

“Republicans, meanwhile, have leapt at the chance to paint Omar as an anti-Semite on par with the GOP’s problematic House member Steve King (R-Iowa) – even if Republicans know it’s false equivalence,” Matt Fuller wrote. “As a GOP member told HuffPost Wednesday on the condition of anonymity: ‘What Ilham Omar said doesn’t even come close to the things Steve King says.’”

Politico said the tragedy was not a member of the U.S. Congress condemning the Jewish people but that the Democratic Party agenda is being delayed.

“What is clear, however, is that the furor over Omar’s remarks – the second time in two months the Minnesota Democrat has made comments that were condemned by her own colleagues as anti-Semitic – is threatening to overshadow everything else happening in the House,” wrote Heather Caygle, John Bresnahan and Sarah Ferris in “House Dems postpone vote rebuking Omar amid pressure from left” – subhead: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other liberal allies stepped up their defense of the freshman Democrat.”

In fact, a major news event already is being blotted out, the Politico story stated. “House Democrats are set to pass a major anti-corruption package that deals with ethics and campaign finance reform initiatives and voting rights, but much of the attention is on Omar and how party leaders respond to her comments.”

Omar and her supporters already have changed the debate – both for colleagues and the media. The original resolution was to condemn Omar for her anti-Semitic remarks about Jews controlling the government through money and having allegiance to another country, rather than the U.S.

The resolution now under consideration doesn’t mention her name and condemns all forms of hatred, and the story included numerous quotes emphasizing that point.

“We’re talking about anti-Semitism because my colleague said some very hurtful things,” Rep. Elliot Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of which Omar is a member, is quoted as saying in the story. “But I think we need to be aware all attempts to demean any group of people, whether it’s Muslims or LGBT people.” He also said he would not move to kick her off the committee because “I don’t think the Foreign Affairs Committee should be used as punishment for anybody.”

Slate’s Joshua Leifer wrote that Omar’s remarks were “predictably criticized” by “Centrist Democrats and the party’s leadership,” but “by the news cycle’s end,” most of the “party’s progressive base rallied around her” and, in the end, the remarks “had performed a kind of public service, focusing attention on, and in a way demonstrating, the power the pro-Israel lobby wields in American politics.”

Leifer’s proof is that left-wing journalists at The Intercept and Vox wrote stories “detailing the way AIPAC (American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee) marshals its significant resources and extensive influence to shut down criticism of Israel and bolster support for Israeli policies.”

Hanna Alshaikh at Vox also defended Omar in “The Ilhan Omar controversy shows how little we care about Palestinian lives” – subhead: “The conversation must center on the plight of the Palestinians.”

The controversy over Omar’s “comments about the influence of Israel lobby groups and the uncritical support that many members of Congress give Israel’s increasingly hardline, right-wing government” had forced Democrats to “make plans to introduce and vote on a resolution this week that would conflate statements like hers with anti-Semitism,” she wrote.

It’s not hatred of Jews that drives Omar, Alshaikh wrote. “Palestinians have faced 70 years of refugeehood,” she wrote. “Omar, who is a refugee herself and continues to identify as such, chooses to uplift the voices and affirm the struggle of refugees worldwide – including Palestinians.”  

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