Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!” What preceded the now-infamous 13 seconds in which the US president, frowning and nodding, listened to the mob chant?
“Ilhan Omar,” Trump had thundered, “has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds!” Well, then, thought the North Carolina rabble, Get her out of here!
The curious thing is that the issue here is Israel. Not Omar’s criticisms, common to many, of Trump’s administration in general. Not even her vow to “be Trump’s nightmare.” He focused on her challenge to the US relationship with Israel.
Ilhan Omar has not in fact stated anything I’m aware of that I consider anti-Semitic. (Not that it’s relevant, or that Trump would know this, but Somali is a Semitic language.)
Omar has criticized Israel for its occupation of Palestinian land, as any US legislator – to say nothing of the normal human – should. She has noted matter-of-factly that the Israel Lobby has plenty of money, and that that helps to explain the US’s one-sided “Middle East policy.”
Thus Trump (identifying instinctively with the colonizer, settler, oppressor over the shithole colonized, dispossessed and oppressed) pronounces her “viciously” anti-Israel.
Anyone who doesn’t think Israel wields extraordinary influence over Washington is not paying attention. At present the relationship is cemented by the Jared Kushner-Binyamin Netanyahu bond; it has yielded the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Syria’s Golan Heights, the (implicit) recognition of Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem, the move of the US embassy, the abandonment of the Iran Deal, the designation of part of Iran’s military as “terrorists,” etc.
Trump is personally enthusiastic about Israel; while utterly ignorant and indifferent religiously, prone to publicly caricature Jews (while approving them as such, and boasting of his Jewish family ties), he is aware of the emotional importance of Israel to many of his supporters.
(He’s also aware of anti-Semitic forces within his base; did he not refer to the neofascists who marched in Charlottesville in August 2017, holding torches and chanting, “Jews will not replace us!” as – at least some of them – “very fine people”?) One should not suppose his indignation at Omar’s comments is anything other than opportunism, not rooted in genuine feelings for Jews or the Jewish state.
In any case, in attacking this diminutive, young brown Muslim Congresswoman in a headscarf, Trump spoke from a teleprompter. This was planned. He used words like “launch” and “screed” that are not part of his normal six-grade vocabulary, explaining the real reason he hates this woman so much: she’s anti-Israel.
She “has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds!” Gosh.
How awful. One can feel Trump’s pain.
Trump thus indicates to his base that Americans – real Americans – are pro-Israel. This is national policy, so accept it, everyone! Ilhan’s hostility towards Israel is thus hostility towards America, towards us. She’s on the other side. The al-Qaeda side, if you will…
His vitriol works; the crowd wants her gone. How dare she criticize Israel in this Christian country that so graciously allowed her in, only to get repaid by her
“Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!” bellow even the angelic-looking children in the audience.
Those 13 seconds comprised perhaps the ugliest moment in the history of this hideous administration.
Excerpted from: ‘Omar and Trump’.
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