Ilhan Omar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Everything In Between

Whether or not one deems The Squad sufficiently socialist, no member of Congress has been as brave as Ilhan Omar, the young Somali American congresswoman, and one of two squad members to break the glass ceiling on Muslim women’s congressional representation in a groundbreaking 2018 election. Omar has been abandoned by her own party, and now faces censure for advocating for Palestinian rights, just as Republican counterpart Marjorie Taylor Greene faces censure for comparing wearing masks to the Holocaust.

Should either face censure for such remarks as Joe Biden continues the war machine, and doesn’t bat an eye upon the slaughter of Palestinians? It seems wrong for a democracy to be so opposed to words and so supportive of violence. Equally important to supporting the free speech of all is drawing a distinction between the fascist right and the progressive left.

The fact that the corporate duopoly want to clump in Omar with Greene on a broad-based smear of anti-Semitism shows just how little the corporate state cares about anti-Semitism. Contrary to what you’ll hear on the right, it is not Israel who is driving US policy. There is not a mysterious Jewish influence operating behind the supremacy of the American dollar.

Rather there is a settler-colonial state named Israel that primary receives military aid in order to control a region through force. The aid the United States gives to Israel is in the last two years, is almost strictly military, according to Congress Research Service. In 2019 and 2020 identical figures of 3.3 billion was given in military aid, 500 million was dedicated to missile defense.

Details for the 2021 fiscal year include this 3.3 billion number plus a measly 5 million to settle Jewish refugees in Israel. Whatever one thinks fo the idea of a Jewish state, clearly this is only a liberal ideology that is not consistent with the way money is being spent. 600 million is going to be added to the War Reserves stockpile in 2021. And a symbolic 2 million for a “Eastern Mediterranean Partnership joint dialogue”. And we are supposed to believe the right values “free speech” more than anything else!?

The United States has put so much into the Israel defense system that it has turned Israel into a major exporter of military equipment, with 70% of Israel’s military equipment now being exports, which included among other things, an electronic fence, along a border Donald Trump could never secure on his own. Of course, the United States began to panic when Israel started trading military equipment with China…

The justification for arming Israel in the way the United States does is that it is a smaller nation, which sounds like a fair point until we see that the role the US uses Israel for is now one primarily of an arms seller to countries outside of itself. If anyone is still buying into the anti-Semitic tropes of Jews pulling the strings Israel has also used its military aid to pay down its own debt to the United States, a signature trait of the modern (post?) colonial relationship. The United States has a huge stockpile of its own weaponry within Israel, which Israel can request to use (such a request was granted by Bush in 2006).

Ilhan Omar has never called Israel a terrorist state. She wants all parties in a one-sided conflict to be held accountable for violence. When did “all lives matter” become so controversial for the right? The funding the United States gives to Israel is done with the intention to create the impression that Israel is true, a terrorist state. While we should contextualize the role the United States is playing in the occupation of Palestine, covering for Israel’s crimes just to avoid the label of anti-Semitism is not good enough either.

The political right will continue to harp on about freedom and liberty while hiding behind the police and military’s monopolization on market forces. If the right does believe in stopping anti-Semitism it will have to totally reimagine its view of the Jewish state as only a military organization. The right is making every attempt to paint Jewish people as terrorists and Ilhan Omar has done everything to avoid this trap. Compare that to the case of Marjorie Taylor Greene, who stumbled into habitual anti-Semitism on a completely unrelated topic.  As for the blatant Islamophobia, racist and sexist violence directed towards Omar and the Palestinians, such things aren’t even acknowledged.

Nick Pemberton writes and works from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves to receive feedback at pemberton.nick@gmail.com 

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