The Sick Double Standard In The Ilhan Omar Controversy

The following two things are true. First, Representative Ilhan Omar was wrong to tweet that the American government’s support of Israel is “all about the Benjamins.” Secondly, she’s being judged by a grotesque double standard. Her fiercest critics in Congress are guiltier of bigotry than she is.

Omar’s tweet was inaccurate. Yes, of course, AIPAC’s influence rests partly on the money its members donate to politicians. But it also rests on a deep cultural and religious affinity for Israel among conservative white Christians, who see the Jewish state as an outpost of pro-American, “Judeo-Christian” values in a region they consider hostile to their country and faith. (American conservatives have long admired small, pro-American countries in regions dominated by America’s adversaries: Think of the right’s affinity for “captive nations” like Lithuania, Latvia and Poland during the cold war, and its historic affinity for apartheid South Africa and Taiwan).

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