At a time of heightened anti-Muslim discrimination and hatred, the Democratic establishment has taken unprecedented steps to single out a Muslim representative for her criticisms of AIPAC and the U.S.’s relationship with Israel. After first publicly rebuking Rep. Ilhan Omar, the Democratic establishment, led by House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, began drafting a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, amounting to an indirect censure.
The move has spectacularly backfired, threatening deep fissures in the Democratic Party as accusations of anti-Semitism tear apart the Labour Party in the U.K. The rush to heed calls for a resolution has only further exposed the Democrats’ close ties to pro-Israel groups and, more alarmingly, has given a tacit green light to the racism and Islamophobia that fuels the Trump administration and its supporters.
The Democrats’ focus on Omar has invited accusations of hypocrisy, given their silence in the face of Trump’s many anti-Semitism comments and a long history of anti-Semitism in the GOP. Unfortunately, the Democrats’ outsized response made them appear in more agreement with Trump, who dismissed Omar’s apology as insincere and called for her expulsion from Congress.
Worse, Democrats have left Omar more vulnerable to the fresh wave of racism and Islamophobia unleashed by the right following her comments, including a poster in the West Virginia statehouse smearing her in connection to the 9/11 attacks. The FBI is now investigating a threat to kill Omar after a photo of graffiti that read “Assassinate Ilhan Omar” was circulated on social media.
With the escalating backlash from progressives in the House, as well as the Islamophobic threats of violence toward Omar, House leaders delayed the vote and sought to pacify criticisms by amending the resolution to include language condemning anti-Muslim bias. Reps. Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey, who publicly reprimanded Omar, clarified their stance to distance themselves from this Islamophobic…