The Whoes Hectoring Ilhan Omar

“Whore: Noun – prostitute; Verb – whored, whoring. … A whore is a person who is regarded as willing to do anything to get a particular thing … [to] debase oneself by doing something for unworthy motives, typically to make money.”  (From one of the 540,00 Google listings)

I had no idea that there are 245 synonyms for whore, a few of which include vulgar, tart, floozy, streetwalker,  hussy, tramp, trollop, strumpet, hooker, secret woman, courtesan, and, in this case, gold digger.

For speaking the truth, yet again, newly-elected Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar has been vilified, threatened, accused of being an anti-Semite, labeled la enfent terrible by a media hungry and eager to pounce on and highlight  tangential issues to the detriment of real issues – issues that affect serious domestic, foreign, and universal human matters.

As an example, NBC’s Morning Show (3/6/2019) spent precious minutes debating one of America’s greatest social concerns, with six illustrative graphic pencil drawings to boot. Should that all-important roll of toilet tissue hang on the outside, or the inside, of the tissue dispenser? Each of the four anchors opined her/his preferences replete with a plethora of historical evidence, protocol, aesthetic appeal, and proper etiquette.

Toilet tissue makers must derive a deep sense of pride from these all-important discussions on daily chores performed in the privacy of one’s in/out/or anywhere-house. And in their competition for ratings, the media have stooped to bland, slanted, and non-substantive wall-to-wall coverage by avoiding the numerous excrementally serious issues affecting the entire world.

News has become propaganda in support of a political ideology/agenda or special interest group.

Some four weeks back Ilhan Omar was taken to the woodshed and severely thrashed for stating the truth. “[It] is all about the Benjamins, baby”  stated she about the role money plays in buying Israeli political influence, a phrase coined and used by many prior to her being ganged on as an anti-Semite. Used as a reference to political kickbacks/hush money (Benjamin Franklin’s image on $100 bills), Benjamins has been relegated to the pile of pejorative labels associated not with the acquisition of political power/bribes, but with anti-Semitism.

And these same Benjamins, delivered in large bundles,  are used by Saudis, Emiratis, and an army of corporate and special interest groups to buy American influence, especially with this Administration.

Upon having the anti-Semitic connotation associated with Benjamins explained to her, on 2/11/2019 Omar promptly and “unequivocally  apologized.”

Her apology was not sufficient; the miscreant had to pay penance by abstaining from committing the supreme political sin, a sin so egregiously cardinal, it relegates one into the 7th sphere of hell, in very close proximity to the Devil’s arse.

In the recent past, this most egregious sin has been etched in stone and affixed to the U.S. Constitution. Thou shalt not, under any circumstance, criticize the 51stState, the favored (Socialist) State of Israel. To do so, one is banished from the kingdom, forever. Just ask Senator Chuck Percy, U.S. Rep. Paul Finley, and former President Jimmy Carter.

At a time when the first 2019 U.S. Senate item of business (S.B. 638, pro-Israel, anti BDS legislation), a Rubio bill intended to give cover and protection to Israeli apartheid and brutal occupation, Ilhan Omar has refused to remain silent about the herculean power Israel and her supporters wield in the Congressional and Executive branches of the U.S. Government . In effect, millions of Americans, including Omar, will be muzzled and prosecuted should they exercise their right to free speech, as affirmed in the  First Amendment , a most prescient legislative act (conceived by our forefathers) that guaranteed Freedom of Expression – thus making this a most sacrosanct cornerstone of our democracy.

Methinks that Rubio and many of the clowns pouncing on Ilhad Omar are Whoeing for Israel. And this is merely the first whoeing in Rubio’s  run for the presidency of the United States.

Whoeing for Israel, Republicans, angry at having lost the House, are eagerly making Ilhan Omar’s accurate and truthful statements about the power Israel wields over U.S. politicians a cause célèbre. And on Monday last 11 Jewish groups sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi demanding Ilhan’s ejection from office. And Democrats have followed suit, with many a whoeing legislator calling for her dismissal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Republican House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La. also known for associating and fraternizing with white racist types)  questioned  Omar’s loyalty and demanded that Omar be denied the committee’s intelligence briefings.

Pray,  tell, what is anti-Semitic about the following statement?  “… the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country…”

And on Sunday last Omar tweeted: “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”

Even Donald Trump, The Head Racist-in-Chief, couldn’t help himself. On Monday last, he tweeted that Omar’s statements were a “dark day for Israel …Representative Ilhan Omar is again under fire for her terrible comments concerning Israel,” He also pointed out  “that a slew of Jewish advocacy groups had urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) to remove Omar from the latter’s high-profile committee.”

Among the many whoeing remarks, the prize goes to Trump campaign adviser Jeff  Ballabon; he called Representatives Omar and Tlaib “filth,” one of Israel’s  favorite racist anti-Semitic tropes (Aravi Meluhlah) frequently employed to refer to Palestinians and Arabs. Yes, Jeff, like it or not, the Palestinians are as Semite as their Jewish cousins.

“The problem is that her beliefs are deeply rooted in hatred and anti-Semitism. She is a hater. I’m going to say it, she is filth [emphasis mine],” Ballabon said on Fox Business. “She has no place in the Congress. She has no place on the Foreign Affairs Committee. It’s outrageous that Nancy Pelosi “

Host Stuart Varney interjected to say that Ballabon used “a very strong word.”

“Yes. She is a filthy [emphasis mine], disgusting hater. So what if she’s in Congress? That’s the problem. The problem is they have now taken anti-Semitism in its worst, most base, disgusting force, and they’ve mainstreamed it,” Ballabon said.

Varney pressed Ballabon on whether he was comfortable with “using that very, very strong language, as an adviser to the Trump campaign.”

“I’m using this as a Jew. I’m using this as someone whose family directly feels threatened, but literally threatened, physically threatened in the culture that’s being created now by the mainstreaming by the Democrats of these kinds of people,” Ballabon responded.

Makes me really wonder: How does  criticizing Israeli policies “physically” threaten Ballabon’s family?  If anything, it lends support to Ilhan Omar’s comment that dual allegiance – first to Israel, and second to American– is at the heart of this debate, a debate in which neither politicians nor the media wish to engage. Cowardice is the lowest form of whoeing.

To his credit, the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman stated that “the dishonest smearing of Omar [is unfair] … she didn’t say or even imply anything at all about Jews. She said that she was being asked to support Israel in order to have the privilege of serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which was true.”

To which I want to add: it is not kosher to attack a young woman of color for her courage to question the status quo.

While hunger, drug addiction, poverty, abuse, human trafficking, violence, exploitation, to name only a few causes, relegate women and men to a life of degradation by forcing them to sell their bodies, minds, and souls to prostitution, motivated by monies that feather their political careers and futures and guarantees them access to the strongest ruling body of this world, members of the U.S. Congress, Republican and Democrat alike, continue to succumb to the lucre and lure  of wooing andwhoeing for votes, money, and power.

This past week the avalanche was quickly building a momentum of seismic proportions.

As of late Wednesday afternoon Republicans, Democrats, the Executive Branch, and a whole bunch of “Israel Firsters”  had Ilhan Omar tied to the metaphorical stake amidst a high pile of flammable phony anti-Semitic charges. And on Thursday  Nancy Pelosi, the new High Priestess of power, was about to ignite the fuse under the petite, young, brutally honest, and courageous  Joan of Arc of the moment.

And just as quickly as the avalanche, impregnated with the fury of whoeing, swelled and was about to burst,  Jewish Voice for Peace, IfNotNow and numerous sane and fair-minded voices of conscience in the American body politic, erected barriers that have, at least for the moment, arrested the  avalanche to a slow creep.

In a bid to outdo the Republicans,  Nancy Pelosi has decided to hold a vote in the house. “I see everything as an opportunity. This is an opportunity  once again to declare as strongly as possible opposition to anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim statements, and white supremacist attitudes,”  she stated.

While the smoke and mirror charade is morphing into a broader discussion about all forms of racism, the core issue must be addressed: Should not the matter of the Zionist lobby’s stranglehold on American politicians be addressed – openly, honestly, scrupulously, and honorably? And, Israel’s critics should not be silenced with the anti-Semitism charge.

Conflating the two is an abominable attempt to silence free speech.

A final comment: while the American public’s support for Israel is, by and large,  still strong, it can turn on a dime. The racists and bigots are out there, waiting for the right moment to validate and act on their deep, dark, and deviant schemes, and the Pittsburgh slaughter is but one such reminder.

Raouf J. Halaby is a Professor Emeritus of English and Art. He is a writer, photographer, sculptor, an avid gardener, and a peace activist.