ILHAN OMAR AND ANTISEMITISM

This is my response to Michelle Goldberg’s column in today’s New York Times saying that Ilhan Omar’s comments were offensive, but only mildly so:
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Stating that Jews have dual loyalty is not mild antisemitism. It’s raw. It’s ugly. It’s mean-spirited.

None of us knows what was in the heart and mind of Ilhan Omar, but we know what she said this time and at least twice before. By any reasonable definition, that’s antisemitism. It’s prejudice and hatred, and there’s nothing any of us can legitimately do to dress it up and make it look like something else.

My father (a Jewish physical chemist) worked for the military most of his career and suffered and eventually died from an illness that was related to his work in the Manhattan Project and other government laboratories. His brother served as a Navy ensign in World War II off the coast of Italy and saw many die? Were they loyal enough to the U.S.? Are some now going to question their efforts and their colleagues and compatriots then and today? Is my loyalty now under question because I’m Jewish? Are we wanted here any more?

Republicans are even worse with their ongoing displays of white nationalist and neo-Nazi rhetoric. Almost as painful are those Democrats who try to play Omar’s words down or talk about “unintentional” antisemitism.

The language Omar used is found in the Protocols of Zion and throughout classic antisemitic literature. We can see it in 1930s propaganda as Nazis questioned the loyalty of European Jewry. I’m a Democrat who holds many progressive views. What are those like me supposed to do now? Maybe, if I go to sleep now, I can dream this all away.

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DR. LAURENCE H. KANT (LARRY KANT), MYSTIC SCHOLAR: Engaged Mysticism and Scholarship in the Pursuit of Wisdom; Discovering meaning in every issue and facet of life; Integrating scholarship, spirituality, mysticism, poetry, community, economics, and politics seamlessly. Historian of Religion: Ph.D., Yale University, 1993 (Department of Religious Studies); Exchange Scholar, Harvard University, Rabbinics, 1983-84; M.A., 1982, Yale, 1982 (Department of Religious Studies); M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School, 1981; B.A., Classics (Greek and Latin), Tufts University, 1978; Wayland High School (Wayland, MA), 1974. Served on the faculty of Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), York University (Toronto), and Lexington Theological Seminary (Lexington, KY). Works in many languages: Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, English, French, Italian, German, Modern Greek (some Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish). Holder of numerous honors and awards, including The Rome Prize in Classics (Prix de Rome) and Fellow of the American Academy of Rome.
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