March 5, 2019

Ilhan Omar Under Fire

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

“Leading House Democrats will offer a resolution Wednesday condemning anti-Semitism in response to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s latest remarks on Israel.” Omar was criticized after “remarks suggesting American supporters of Israel are pushing people to have ‘allegiance to a foreign country.’” AP News

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From the Left

The left is divided, with many accusing her of spreading anti-semitic tropes, while some contend that her remarks are being taken out of context.

Critics posit that “Muslims, more than any other group in the United States, are routinely accused of disloyalty. For Omar to turn around and use the same trope against others boggles the mind… Part of the far-right’s anti-Muslim bigotry is the slander that Muslims can’t hold office and won’t respect U.S. justice because they are loyal to Sharia law…

“The age-old ‘dual loyalty’ slander against American Jews is similar… Most American Jews are little more pleased with Israel’s current policies than Omar is. But those who support Israel’s policies aren’t disloyal to America. When Omar questions their patriotism, she is reading from the same bigoted playbook that launched Trump.”
Dana Milbank, Washington Post

These are specific and charged words, talking about a foreign ‘allegiance.’ ‘Allegiance’ has a specific and almost always exclusive meaning. If you look up the biography of a military leader you’ll see the country they serve is referred to as their 'allegiance.' It doesn’t [mean] ‘support’ or ‘consistent support’ or even ‘lockstep support’...

“Omar should be able to express criticism of Israeli policies and US policies of support toward the Israeli government without repeatedly waltzing into claims about dual loyalties or foreign allegiances… At this point, if it’s a confusion or misunderstanding it seems either willful or ingrained.”
Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo

Others, however, argue that “the mainstream political establishment in the United States demands support and loyalty with regard to Israel, and that is all Omar was saying. Did we all forget that, just a few weeks ago, the Senate, in a 77-23 vote, passed a bill that included a highly constitutionally dubious provision allowing local governments to punish companies that back a boycott of Israel?”
Jack Mirkinson, Splinter

Some ask: “Has Aipac — founded more than 50 years ago to ‘strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship’ — become too powerful? And with that power, has Aipac warped the policy debate over Israel so drastically that dissenting voices are not even allowed to be heard?”
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times

Others note that “[Warren] has provided more detail on Medicare financing than Sanders has. She has also provided more overall policy detail, including on the taxes she would raise, than Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg. And her Medicare plan comes much, much closer to paying for itself than various Republican tax cuts. I wish the conservatives complaining about her plan applied the same rigor to their own ideas… The biggest weakness of Warren’s approach is that it tries to bulldoze through the sizable public anxiety about radical changes to the health care system. Warren would not let people opt into Medicare, a wildly popular idea. She would force them to join… she needs to come up with a reassuring transition plan soon.”
David Leonhardt, New York Times

“Trump’s defenders will say this evidence is all circumstantial. But circumstantial evidence is not weak evidence: it’s simply evidence based on the circumstances in which an act of wrongdoing is committed — such as the license plate of a car that speeds away from a bank just after that bank is robbed. Criminals are convicted on such evidence all the time. They will also say that there’s no explicit quid pro quo proposal here. But… ‘even when a corrupt deal is struck implicitly, the government can still prosecute extortion on a quid pro quo basis. Circumstantial evidence can be enough to prove a criminal exchange.’…

“In the absence of an explicit quid pro quo over restarting aid, the context and circumstances are what will become the focus of the investigation. There is enough here to support impeachment. Whether it is also enough to convince Republicans and lead to removal is another matter.”
Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) “insisted the president couldn’t possibly have done anything wrong because, in the end, Ukraine got its money without committing to any investigations. This point of view has radical implications for America’s system of justice and overcrowded prisons, if Mr. Jordan in fact truly believes that all inmates convicted of attempted crimes are innocent of wrongdoing… Perhaps the most telling remark was offered by a Republican staff lawyer, Stephen Castor, who suggested that while the president’s behavior may have been highly irregular, ‘it’s not as outlandish as it could be.’ Here’s a tip: When ‘not as outlandish as itcould be’ is your strongest defense, it’s time to rethink your position.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

From the Right

The right condemns Omar’s comments and is calling for her removal from the House foreign affairs committee.

From the Right

The right condemns Omar’s comments and is calling for her removal from the House foreign affairs committee.

“Omar is right that it is entirely legitimate to criticize U.S. policy towards Israel, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is her repeated suggestion that support for the current policy toward Israel is the product of Jewish money buying support and/or Jews who are more loyal to Israel’s interests than they are to those of the United States. Those claims are false and bigoted.”
Henry Olsen, Washington Post

American support for Israel is due to “shared values: liberal democracy, religious tolerance, a free press. These are values that contrast sharply with those of Israel’s neighbors — including the Palestinians. Moreover, Americans respect Israel because of its amazing success — politically, militarily, economically, and especially technologically. And Americans also respect Israel as a haven for oppressed Jews worldwide.”
Joel Pollak, Breitbart

“Jewish Americans by and large support Israel not out of ‘allegiance’ to Israel but because Israel protects victimized Jews all over the world, represents the sole liberal democracy in the Middle East, and provides valuable strategic partnership to the United States. But according to Omar and other anti-Semites, the only reason for American Jews to support Israel is because they are part of a secret club, disloyal to the United States and loyal only to the ethnic tribe.”
Ben Shapiro, Daily Wire

“Many efforts have been made to quietly address concerns with Omar in her district, in the halls of Congress, and by Democratic leaders. And no one is shutting down any debate. Omar and Tlaib haven’t themselves sought to debate ideas as much as vilify large groups of their own countrymen who think differently… How many anti-Semitic comments can Omar make before she’s ejected from the House Foreign Affairs Committee?”
Melissa Braunstein, The Federalist

“[Democrats] should name her in the resolution… A generic statement denouncing anti-semitism would be not just toothless but practically a gift to Omar: She’d vote for it, claiming that she never meant to impugn all Jews (just the ones who support Israel!), and would then point back to that vote any time in the future that she’s accused of anti-semitism.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

Man lost in snow for five days survived on Taco Bell sauce packets.
Fox 29

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