Glenn Greenwald on the Ilhan “controversy”

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“This is all so ridiculous. It’s all based upon this demand that we indulge what everybody knows is an utter and complete fiction, which is that we’re allowed to talk about the power of the NRA in Washington, we’re allowed to talk about the power of the Saudis in Washington, we’re allowed to talk about the power of big pharmaceutical companies and Wall Street and Silicon Valley and the fossil fuel industry in Washington, but we’re not allowed to talk about an equally potent, well-organized and well-financed lobby that ensures a bipartisan consensus in support of U.S. defense of Israel, that the minute that you mention that lobby, you get attacked as being anti-Semitic, which is what happened to Congresswoman Omar.
 
And I think the context here is really important. For a long time, the bipartisan piety was not just that the U.S. has to support Israel, but that, in particular, the effort to boycott Israel in protest of its occupation of Palestine is not just misguided, but anti-Semitic. That’s the official position of the Democratic Party, of Hillary Clinton, of Chuck Schumer, of every leading Democrat.
 
And now, suddenly, you have these two really exciting, dynamic, charismatic women of color newly elected to Congress, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, who both are supporters of the boycott of Israel, which the Democratic Party says is bigotry and anti-Semitism, and it’s created this very awkward moment.
 
So, of course, the minute two Muslim women arrive in Congress, they’re going to get attacked as anti-Semitic if they’re critical of Israel, which they are, just like Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, got vilified as being an anti-Semite by Haim Saban, the billionaire funder of the Democratic Party, when Ellison tried to be the chairman of the DNC.
 
What the congresswoman said is very uncontroversial. Everyone knows AIPAC is an extremely intimidating lobby, just like the NRA is. There’s nothing wrong with pointing that out. There’s certainly nothing anti-Semitic about saying that, about criticizing the Israeli government for its aggression and militarism. And anybody who cares about Palestinians and about the ability of Muslims in the United States to be able to speak freely ought to be defending her.
 
And the last point I would add is, my point was, in saying how weird it is, what a priority it is for U.S. politicians to defend Israel, was based on the fact that the very first bill passed by the U.S. Senate was not about helping Americans; it was about empowering states to punish people who support a boycott of Israel, a bill sponsored by Marco Rubio, who got more money from Sheldon Adelson than any other politician in 2016, and then was supported by half of the Democratic Senate Caucus.
 
That’s what I was referring to. And the congresswoman was saying a big reason for that is the monied interests in Washington that demand that. And of course everyone knows that’s true, and to call that anti-Semitic is just obscene.

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