Even while Islamists defend Rep. Ilhan Omar from charges of anti-Semitism against American Jews, saying that she was merely criticizing Israeli policies, they cannot help themselves from committing the same offense. Case in point: the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a press conference in Washington DC earlier today with a coalition of Islamist groups, and a handful of progressive Jewish fellow-travelers, in support of Rep. Omar. The MC was Islamist firebrand Linda Sarsour; other Islamist luminaries included CAIR head Nihad Awad, Osama Abu-Irshaid from the anti-Semitic group American Muslims for Palestine, and Esam Omeish, former president of the Muslim-Brotherhood front Muslim American Society (MAS).
While lofty themes were hit by some of the speakers, such as the right to free speech and freedom of religion, others couldn't resist sliding into bigotry themselves. Nihad Awad, the first speaker of the press conference, said that "Israel and its AIPAC lobby have undue influence in our Congress and on our foreign policy." Similarly, Ahmed Bedier, of United Voices (and formerly the director of CAIR-Tampa), claimed that AIPAC was "not the voice of the Jewish community; they are the voice of Netanyahu, the voice of Likud, the voice of the right wing." This of course echoes the charge of dual loyalty that Rep. Omar herself flung at supporters of Israel; apparently to Awad and Bedier, the many American Jews who support AIPAC are merely the agents of a sinister foreign political party.
Mr. Abu Irshaid, meanwhile, was careful to say that "It's not being against Israel as a state, it's about its policies." This would be more convincing if Abu Irshaid were not a former official for the defunct Hamas outlet Islamic Association for Palestine, if he were not now the head of an organization often caught peddling rank anti-Semitic bigotry intermixed with its anti-Israel activism, and if he himself had not personally claimed in 2016 that Israel was responsible for every calamity in the Middle East, including the Syrian civil war and the coup in Egypt that replaced President Mohamed Morsi of the Egyptian Muslim-Brotherhood. (In his own words, "Israel was not created just to take and to swallow Palestine. It was created to divide and to weaken that part of the world.")
Many speakers emphasized that the Palestinian cause has been adopted wholesale by the Progressive movement; unfortunately, this has allowed Islamists to cloak their anti-liberal ideology and their not-very-well-hidden anti-Semitism in progressive garb, surrounded by eager progressive "allies." And Rep. Omar is only the tip of the spear. Her repeated, deliberate pushing of the boundaries of civil discourse cannot be tolerated, or else what will follow will be worse. If you don't agree, just listen to CAIR claim that supporters of AIPAC are foreign agents rather than good Americans, and imagine where that will lead.