MORE ON ILHAN OMAR AND ANTISEMITISM

There was no state of Israel in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but antisemites, and later the Nazis, made similar claims about Jews then: they’re more loyal to one another than to the nation; they’re “clannish”; they stick together; they plot against the nation; they have foreign allegiances; they’re “cosmopolitan”; and on and on. If you watch a Nazi propaganda film like “Jud Süss,” you’ll see much of the same rhetoric repeated.

Ilhan Omar is not using language that relates specifically to AIPAC and those who have a particular view of Israel. She’s using language that those living around 1900 or in the 1930s would have had no problem understanding.

If Omar had criticized AIPAC’s backing of Israeli settlement policy, that would be one thing; it would be a policy dispute. And I don’t agree with AIPAC much of the time. But that’s not what she did here. She used a trope that revealed her real views of Jews and who we are as a people and how we’re not really authentically loyal Americans. David Duke (former Grand Wizard of the KKK) is now praising her and backing her. And, sadly, he has good reason to do so given what she said.

I may strongly disagree with those who back Israel right or wrong, but I don’t question that they want the best for the United States and for Jews and for Israel. I don’t doubt their motives. They believe that the interests of American and Israel are aligned and that we share common values of democracy and freedom. And they have a point on that, even though recent Israeli policies on democracy have fallen far short IMHO. I think that their views are misguided and leading us to a situation where Jews and Israel and the United States will find themselves in much greater danger. In fact, I see Omar’s comments as vindication of my argument. But those with whom I fiercely disagree are loyal Americans as well as committed Jews, and I will not question their motives. We’e all doing our best in a confusing world and trying to make sense of very difficult and hard-to-solve problems and issues.

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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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