What’s the Right Word?

Ilhan Omar is taking some heat from Josh Marshall, Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey, among others, for using the term “allegiance” to characterize what’s expected of American politicians towards Israel. And she’s not backing down:


“Allegiance” is, apparently, a loaded term, per Josh:

“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 means “support” or “consistent support” or even “lockstep support.”

And there’s this:


Part of Josh’s concern is that Omar appears to be saying that it’s American Jews who expect allegiance to Israel, when in fact their attitudes towards Israel are mixed. It’s Evangelical Christians who have been expecting allegiance to Israel.

I think Omar definitely has a point that she’s expected to just put up with attacks that question her allegiance to America without anything like the backlash she’s experienced. She also has a point that Netanyahu (who is going on trial for corruption) is awful. He also tried to influence our election, and arrogantly expects US support no matter what his government does. I don’t know about the rest, but I do know she isn’t backing down, and her long threads on Twitter are much more reasonable that most of the criticism sent her way. What say you?






195 replies
  1. 1
    dr. bloor says:

    “Allegiance” is the perfect word. Marshall needs to check his ego; everyone else’s reaction is pretty much what I would expect.

  2. 2
    Jerzy Russian says:

    I think she has a point. It would be nice to have a rational discussion about Israel, for example about the massive amount of aid that we send. That does not seem possible at the moment.

  3. 3
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Someone smart once said that it was remarkable how much narrower the range of acceptable discourse on Israel is in the USA than it is in… Israel.

  4. 4
    MattF says:

    The truth, unfortunately, is that there is a very long list of anti-semitic tropes– and each person’s list is a bit different. I believe that Omar means well, but she’s going to get trapped every now and then. It’s unavoidable.

  5. 5
    guachi says:

    The basic gist I’m getting is that Jews can never be criticized as someone somewhere will say it’s antisemitic.

  6. 6
    PPCLI says:

    Two things can be true together: that Omar’s basic points are absolutely correct, and that she should take more care than she does to avoid echoing long-standing anti-Semitic themes. The idea that Jewish Americans inherently have “dual loyalty” is one of them. She needs to craft her message with more care.

    Comparison: Someone might, while writing of the Koch brothers influence by writing “Koch Brother$”. An obvious and dumb trope, but not out of bounds. On the other hand, to refer to a Jewish supporter of some political cause that way, as GOP Rep. McCarthy just did, is playing with dynamite and shouldn’t be done. This is a point that applies to all parties.

  7. 7
    dr. bloor says:

    @guachi: The problem is that Israel can never be criticized, as someone will say it’s antisemitic.

  8. 8
    germy says:

    Bibi accused his attorney general of “blood libel” so I guess anti-semitism is a problem in Israel, also. /

  9. 9
    rp says:

    @guachi: GFY

    I don’t think she’s being intentionally antisemitic, but “allegiance” is a very poor choice of words.

  10. 10
    Dave says:

    Long overdue by any rational standard. I predict a rash of amazingly well funded primary challengers next cycle happy to take the cash and do what they’re told

  11. 11
    satby says:

    @PPCLI: I think that captures the problem well. And it’s not like the “dual loyalty” accusations aren’t used against Omar and other Muslims as they have been against Jewish Americans and in the past Catholic Americans like John F. Kennedy (it was an argument against his election by some opposition).

  12. 12
    plato says:

    It’s americans being more Israelis than Israelis themselves. So, allegiance it is.

  13. 13
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    Down here in the south, it’s the hard right wing evangelicals that are the most vocal supporters of Israel. This even more perplexing as these same people will denounce ‘Jewish interference’ in the next breath. It has to do with their belief that when the Jews turn Christian (?) then God pulls the plug, and all us dirty hippies will be cast down into the fiery pit of hell and they can point and laugh from Heaven.

    Lord have mercy.

  14. 14
    bjacques says:

    Good for her.

    Not everyone criticizing Israeli policies is their enemy. Not everyone nodding along if not actively encouraging those policies is their friend. (Maybe people should read up on the role Israel plays in Evangelical Christian End Times prophecy.)

    If Likud want to ally with the nuttiest possible party, I hope we have something to say about it.

  15. 15
    germy says:

    This week @WVGOP called Rep @IlhanMN a terrorist & ignited a spike in death threats against her

    Rather than condemn such bigotry & violence & apologize for the things they openly said—the Right has instead found new ways to attack her for things she never said

    Utter hypocrisy😑

    — Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) March 3, 2019

    And thanks to Josh Marshall, Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey, among others for helping.

  16. 16
    guachi says:

    @dr. bloor: Yes.

    This would be a more accurate version of what I meant.

    Israel is as Jewish as America is Christian. Think about that. Israel is only 75% Jewish.

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: Beliefs about Jews that are flatly self-contradictory is a tell of actual antisemitism.

  18. 18
    cmorenc says:

    Maybe instead of “allegiance” the more accurate framing would be that the US is trapped in a relationship with an abusive, manipulative family relationship with Israel. One in which a key part of the abuser’s tactics is trying to shame anyone who calls out the relationship for what it is.

  19. 19
    Jim Bales says:

    As a native born American (and a native English speaker) I did not pick up on the anti-Semitic implications of her language.

    The word itself is not derogatory, and it is also (as best I can tell) precisely correct.

    So, Representative Omar is receiving the treatment that Jews received, but isn’t allowed to complain about it? Or, if she wishes to complain, she must use circumlocution rather than plane, direct speech?

    Neither of those seem fair, prudent, or wise.

  20. 20
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    OT but Jane Mayer has an awesome piece in the New Yorker about the most trusted name in news.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/03/11/the-making-of-the-fox-news-white-house

    I see subpoenas in Fox’s future.

  21. 21
    Brachiator says:

    @satby:

    I think that captures the problem well. And it’s not like the “dual loyalty” accusations aren’t used against Omar and other Muslims as they have been against Jewish Americans and in the past Catholic Americans like John F. Kennedy

    Hell, Omar doesn’t even get the benefit of dual loyalty. The presumption is that she is not American.

  22. 22
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jerzy Russian:

    That does not seem possible at the moment.

    That has not seemed possible in my lifetime.

  23. 23
    Joey Maloney says:

    @germy: Take it from me: just like Republicans love America while hating most Americans, Bibi’s coalition loves Jewry while hating most Jews.

  24. 24

    There’s undoubtedly a problem with the language Rep. Omar is using, but there’s also substance to her criticisms. Her critics would have a lot more credibility if they engaged her on the substance as well as the language; as it is, it looks as if they’re language policing to avoid having to engage with her on the substance.

  25. 25
    Betty Cracker says:

    @PPCLI: Well said. Patience and a willingness to learn on the part of all parties is required in a situation like this. After the last kerfluffle, Omar said she’s still learning how to avoid stepping on a landmine in conversations like this. She seemed sincere to me, but this would be a good time to study the issue so as to avoid setting it off again.

    She’s absolutely correct that it’s not fair that she gets slandered and abused nonstop without her abusers encountering a similar backlash. But if she’s a person of goodwill (and I think she is), that won’t stop her from trying to do better.

  26. 26
    TomatoQueen says:

    Diane Rehm did this to Wilmer in front of a live audience and ultimately lost her job over it. It is never a clever idea or a new one to do this using the same old hollow tropes, nor to use a loaded word when an unloaded one will do the same job, ask the same question(s),or heaven forfend ask a new question. It would be far better for her to raise the issue of the picture (which surely everyone has seen by now) as Islamophobia clearly hasn’t gone away.

  27. 27
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Roger Moore: “Undoubtedly” is a very strong word. In the first 20 comments of this thread, there is substantial disagreement (i.e. doubt) about whether “allegiance” is a correct word for what she is describing/

  28. 28
    Betty Cracker says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: There will be a post on this shortly. I thought it got eaten, but happily, it did not.

  29. 29
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Fuck Israel.

  30. 30
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    John Haggee’s group Christians United for Israel has over 5 million Evangelicals as members. Usually a reprsentative of the Israeli govt attends the annual meeting as an honored guest and is wildly applauded.

    Many televangelists lead pilgrimages to Israel. See for example Perry Stone and Rabbi Jonathan Cohn sp? and their youtube videos.

    Note–Hagee was a McCain advisor In 08

  31. 31
    Immanentize says:

    I read the Marshall thing this morning and I thought, “Please Josh, don’t go Dersh on us!”. The source of Dershowitz’ crazy turn can really be charted from 9/11 and an increasing pro-Israeli bent.

    My question, serious question, is — How many members of Congress hold dual citizenship? That little factoid seems impossible to learn. There is some very anti-Semitic screeds out there just listing the Jews in Congress. But we know both Ted Cruz and Michelle Bachman renounced foreign dual citizenship (Canada and Switzerland respectively) when they ran for President. Doesn’t dual citizenship require allegiance. As in “I pledge allegiance…”?

  32. 32
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    There will be a post on this shortly.

    Oh, boy!

    I thought it got eaten, but happily, it did not.

    Is there nothing sacred a new puppy won’t chew up?!

  33. 33
    Immanentize says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: Or subpoenas in their past — noting their entire retreat from Twitter late last year.

  34. 34
    chopper says:

    meanwhile gym jordan puts out a tweet referring to jewish dude Tom “$teyer” but that’s okay.

  35. 35
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @satby: In the South the cry that JFK was ‘more loyal to the Pope than to the USA’ was loudly led by SoBaptists

  36. 36
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Immanentize: More importantly, did classes get cancelled today? A certain institution of learning in your neighborhood delayed until noon (my son’s classes were all AM, so he gets to sleep.)

  37. 37
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: The story seems to be that in order for the Rapture to take take place all the Jews must return to Israel. There they will be given the chance to become Christian. Those who do not convert will be hideously killed as punishment.

  38. 38

    @Immanentize: He hosts John Judis’ anti-immigrant rants on TPM and repeats T’s lies about diversity visa and family based immigration. I am also not a fan of his overly long, beat around the bush rambling blog posts that he writes.

  39. 39
    MattF says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: Now, here I thought it was ‘tortured by fire for all eternity’. Live and learn.

  40. 40
    Another Scott says:

    @Immanentize:

    Doesn’t dual citizenship require allegiance. As in “I pledge allegiance…”?

    I don’t think so, but I imagine it varies by country. I think being “eligible to be dual citizen by birth” is fairly common. Recall the recent controversy in Australia.

    (I can’t comment on the “right word” thing here – I don’t know enough about it and probably couldn’t add anything meaningful anyway.)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  41. 41
    stinger says:

    I hadn’t realized that “allegiance” was such a loaded word. When I first read Rep. Omar’s remark, I thought it was spot on. I’m willing to learn and to be respectful of others’ sensitivities — ironic how the people who decry “political correctness” are now outraged over her choice of terms — but overall, Rep. Omar’s voice brings a much needed perspective.

  42. 42
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Immanentize:
    As I recall, Ted Cruz only renounced his allegiance to the Queen after it was pointed out in public. It defies belief that he was previously unaware of it, or that he never took advantage of it when he could.

  43. 43
    wonkie says:

    I think that the over use of claims of anti-Semitism, particularly when used in a policy disagreement is Jussy Smolletizing anti-Semitism. Its crying wolf. After a while it will only play in evangelical circles because they are really into faux victimization. Too many claims–and we are at that point already in my opinion! and outside of evengelical circles, I think the claims will be seen as hypersensitivity or bullying.

  44. 44
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Got a link where Marshall “repeats T’s lies about diversity visa and family based immigration”? I am a TPM subscriber and have never read that there. I don’t agree with Josh & crew 100% about everything, but if what you say is true, I would consider shit-canning my subscription. Thanks!

  45. 45
    Immanentize says:

    @Gin & Tonic: mine were cancelled until noon as well. But I’m staying put. The Immp’s school closed for the day.

    I am happy to be working from home today….

  46. 46
    BobS says:

    Israel and it’s lobby makes Russia look like a bunch of amateurs when it comes to influencing US politicians and elections, most recently the ongoing attacks- including by her Democratic peers- on Rep. Omar and the attempt by the Senate (each member who I believe pledged their allegiance to the US Constitution) to suppress the free speech rights of the American citizenry by essentially outlawing BDS (thank you, Senators Stabenow and Peters).
    The only difference between the Knesset and Knesset West, aka the US Congress, is that there’s more dissent allowed in the original.
    By the way, if you want to see something embarrassing (but illuminating), find Schumer’s 2010 speech to AIPAC on YouTube.

  47. 47
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    Apparently Omar is unaware that the USA is a client state of Israel and the USA must do as its told.

  48. 48
    Immanentize says:

    @schrodingers_cat: The man needs an editor.

  49. 49
    James E Powell says:

    I really don’t get why allegiance is a poor choice of words. I certainly don’t see it as anti-semitic but perhaps I know nothing about these things. Despite paying pretty close attention to American politics, I often find I am unaware of some conflicts that have been going on for years.

    I do know that the reason Rep. Omar’s remarks are given such wide and feverish coverage is that a very large percentage of the press/media world does not like Democrats and they do not want them to win any more elections.

  50. 50
    geg6 says:

    I usually like Josh and TPM, but he’s full of shit here.

    Allegiance:
    noun
    1) the loyalty of a citizen to his or her government or of a subject to his or her sovereign.
    2) loyalty or devotion to some person, group, cause, or the like.

    She is right. And it’s not anti-semitic to criticize Israel, no matter how much the Reichwing and Likudniks would like to make everyone think it is. But I get this all the time whenever I criticize what Israel is doing to Palestinians and how it may not always be in our best interests to blindly support anything any Israeli government does, either online or in meat space. Thankfully, my Jewish friends mostly agree with me. It’s the media that is always shocked that not everyone supports Israeli policy like sheep the way they do and the assholes with fish, Confederate battle flag and NRA bumper stickers on their giant pickup trucks and wearing MAGA hats who point and scream “anti-Semite!!!!!” at me. It’s a weird dynamic.

    But Marshall is wrong, wrong, wrong on this. I read his post this morning and just thought, well, here we go. Josh is gonna get reamed on this in his email today.

  51. 51
    rikyrah says:

    There is a reason why folks like myself call Israel
    The 51st State.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with the Congresswoman using allegiance.
    It’s absolutely on point😒

  52. 52
    Amir Khalid says:

    @rikyrah:
    Some days, I think Bibi considers Israel the 1st American state rather than the 51st.

  53. 53
    Citizen Alan says:

    @MattF:

    That comes after being brutally exterminated by Jesus.

  54. 54
    BobS says:

    @rikyrah: They certainly have a louder voice in congress than the citizens of Puerto Rico and Washington DC.
    Of course, that’s because they also have a louder voice in congress than the citizens of the 50 states represented by stars on the flag.

  55. 55

    @Betty Cracker: It was in one report after an attack in NYC in 2017. I emailed them about it, they changed it without acknowledging that they were making a correction. Sneaky. I don’t remember whether I took a screen shot. I will have to check my email.
    T was saying that the guilty person had sponsored over 20 relatives.
    The lie that TPM repeated in their reporting was about chain migration, once a person becomes a citizen he/she can sponsor siblings, cousins, etc. In reality one can sponsor one’s parents and minor children and one’s spouse. You can also sponsor adult children and siblings but the waiting period for those can be longer than a decade.

  56. 56
    satby says:

    @Brachiator: well, in the group in question, naturalized citizens don’t count as Americans, so true.

  57. 57
    Immanentize says:

    @James E Powell:
    The complaint is one of Jewish dual allegiance — that they are really not American and don’t value the US because they are really alligned with Israel. It is a very touchy point because of the German Stab in the Back propaganda from both World Wars. And we know how that worked out for Jews….

  58. 58
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @PPCLI: That’s where I am. She needs to tread lightly when speaking about Israel. Getting into tiffs about Israel where she’s painted as anti-Semitic isn’t helpful. She should focus on legislative issues and minimize her comments on that issue unless there is something pressing that she feels the need to address. Sigh.

  59. 59
    Luthe says:

    The problem is no one in American media (or politics) seem to grasp the idea that supporting Israel as a *concept* is different from supporting the Israeli government and its policies. I think it’s firmly established that Israel as a country will continue to exist indefinitely and we are, for better or worse, inextricably tied to it. However, current Israeli policy is unsustainable and Rep. Omar has every right to point that out. It’s just that there’s an idiotic strain in our Establishment that criticizing policy = criticizing state.

  60. 60
    rp says:

    Forget the antisemitism angle. Saying someone has “allegiance” to another country is accusing them of dual loyalty or disloyalty. That’s a serious charge. It’s a poor choice or words for Israel, just as it was for Kennedy and the Pope, or Cubans, or Irish people, or Italians, et al

  61. 61
    Amber says:

    As a Jew who likes Israel (I have family there), despises Bibi (as does said family – we’re all leftists), and wishes the US would kowtow less to what the right wing in Israel want (no surprise that when the left wing in Israel want something the US goes deaf, given that the impetus really comes from the US evangelical right) – aka someone who agrees in substance with the general idea that the US shouldn’t act as a blank check for whatever Bibi wants – my hackles went up from that tweet. It was an unfortunate choice in language.

    Honestly, if it was the first time she accidentally blew an antisemitic dog whistle while trying to make a good point, I’d be inclined to shrug it off as inartful but well meant. But if we’re going to point to the fact that Trump consistently blows racist dog whistles as evidence that 1, he’s racist or 2, the people he hangs out with most are, then we have to apply the same analysis to people on our side. Do I think she’s antisemitic? No, I dont have enough info about her yet. But when the first few things I hear out of a person’s mouth sound an awful lot like things I’ve heard people I know to be antisemitic say, I’m going to be wary.

  62. 62
    Betty Cracker says:

    We all understand that words that are completely neutral in one context can have horrible connotations in another. So hauling out the dictionary isn’t particularly helpful here. I can and do call my 10-year-old nephew a “boy” and refer to adult white male friends/family as “the boys.” I wouldn’t ever call an adult black man that.

    Now, that’s a well-known linguistic landmine in the U.S. Questioning “allegiance” in relation to Jewish folks isn’t nearly as well known, but it is a trope. I believe Rep. Omar is a person of good will who simply didn’t realize what she said was offensive. And of course she should be able to criticize the state of Israel and its influence on U.S. policy without being labeled an anti-Semite.

  63. 63
    BobS says:

    @Patricia Kayden: No, she doesn’t need to “tread lightly”. This is a public conversation that we’re long overdue having.

  64. 64
    Joe Falco says:

    Being from the South and having grown up in Southern Baptist churches (including Rep. Jody Hice’s church), it’s more than fair to characterize evangelicals’ and more than a few politicians’ devotion to Israel as allegiance. I’d say there’s more Zionists in the American Southeast than in Israel, but these people only support Zionism as far as it fits their “Left Behind” worldview. There’s a few degrees of difference between someone who believes in supporting Israel because Israel needs to exist for the Rapture to happen and Neo-Nazi nationalists wanting to cast all Jewish people out to their “homeland” but that Venn Diagram shows those two circles a little too close for comfort.

    Also, Rep. Omar is doing good on speaking out against this. More needs to be done to highlight how much US foreign policy has been influenced by this uncritical support of an apartheid state.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    So it’s terrible for Rep. Omar to point out that US politicians defer to Israeli politicians’ wishes but A-OK for Republicans to claim that her election means that the 9/11 terrorists won?

  66. 66

    @Betty Cracker: Also, here is more learned hating on immigrants
    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/john-judis-interview-george-borjas
    George Borjas is a Harvard economist and a Cuban immigrant and is anti-immigration unless the immigrants can prove that they are Einstein.

  67. 67
    rp says:

    I got into an argument with a few folks about this a few weeks ago, but I’ll say it again: Saying that Israel pulls the strings in the US or that the US is a client state of Israel gives people like Bush, Cheney, and Trump, as well as Congress as a whole, far too much of a pass. Israel surely influences their decisions, but our politicians have agency and are perfectly capable of making stupid decisions for their own reasons.

  68. 68
    sapient says:

    @Joe Falco: “Also, Rep. Omar is doing good on speaking out against this. More needs to be done to highlight how much US foreign policy has been influenced by this uncritical support of an apartheid state.”

    She might not be the best messenger for this.

  69. 69
  70. 70
    BobS says:

    @Mnemosyne: Not only that, but getting more criticism from fellow Democrats for the former than defense for the latter.

  71. 71
    Immanentize says:

    @Luthe:

    It’s just that there’s an idiotic strain in our Establishment that criticizing policy = criticizing state.

    It is a bit more complex (or simple?) than that. I think that Rep. Omar falls into the trap of criticizing people’s motives (allegiance) rather than their actions. She is calling out persons rather than actions or positions when she complains about allegiance. I am not faulting her or disagreeing, but when she does that it is easy to start the argument that she is being anti-Semitic.

    Jay Smooth said once that it isn’t a bad move to call people out for their motives (you are a racist) because you are wrong but rather it is a bad move because you may be right. And getting into a fight like that — the one she is in lets the wrongdoer off the hook.

    “When a guy steals my wallet, I don’t chase him down to look into his heart to see if he’s a thief, I run him down to get my wallet back.”
    (Paraphrase)

  72. 72
    oclday says:

    @chopper:
    Yes, but Omar is a gasp woman and gasp gasp a Muslim woman and on and on and on.

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amber:

    I don’t disagree with you that Rep. Omar needs to be a little more careful of her wording so she doesn’t fall into anti-Semitic language, but I find it very ironic that the people accusing her of anti-Semitism for talking about dual loyalties are the exact same ones accusing her of being allied with terrorists because she’s Muslim. They can’t have it both ways and insist that saying that American Jews have dual allegiance with Israel is anti-Semitic but saying that American Muslims have dual allegiance with al-Qaeda is just the truth.

  74. 74
    MattF says:

    @rp: It’s fair to note that Trump et. al. have their own reasons for supporting the right-wing in Israel, and that there hasn’t been much discussion about that. The continuing problem is that, e.g., what we’re seeing here doesn’t look to me like a discussion.

  75. 75
    trollhattan says:

    Pretty sure there are many people and leaders outside the US who admire the US who do not like or support the Republican Party. Similarly, there are people who admire Israel who do not like or support Likud. That’s kind of where we are today, and I think a wise politician will be able to tease those two apart.

    When fucking Bibi went before congress and put a thumb in Obama’s eye I considered him an enemy of the US, and do today.

  76. 76
    BobS says:

    @sapient: Unfortunately, she’s filling an over 60 year void (illegal procurement of nuclear material, the attack on the USS Liberty, the large open air prison called Gaza, etc) 500+ other members of Congress have left.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @sapient:

    She might not be the best messenger for this.

    The fact that a Muslim-American woman is called a terrorist for criticizing Israel is part of the problem, yes.

  78. 78
    Immanentize says:

    @trollhattan: And it seems that the Bibi thumb might have also been employed on the 2016 election scales. At least through Cambridge Analytics and money sources. I hope we find out about that for certain one day.

  79. 79
    rp says:

    @Mnemosyne: Who are you referring to? People like Marshall and Lowey aren’t saying that.

  80. 80
    Immanentize says:

    @oclday: Don’t forget to add: black and wears a hijab.

    The fact that her anti-Semitism needs to be explained because it might be utterly unintended and unknowing stands in sharp contrast to the crass attacks on her.

  81. 81
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Thanks for the links! I frequently disagree with Judis (don’t even bother to read his output much anymore, truth be told). But in no way is the conversation you linked or a regrettable reporting error comparable to Trump’s unabashedly hateful anti-immigrant demagoguery, IMO.

  82. 82
    But her emails!!! says:

    Can someone point me to where she indicates that she is even talking about Jewish people? I keep seeing comments about her dredging up the old trope of divided Jewish loyalty when the quotes I see look more like she’s criticizing Republican politicians (who are largely declared Christians) for there unhealthy deference to the Israeli right wing.

  83. 83
    BobS says:

    @Immanentize: I’ve seen no evidence of “her anti-Semitism”.

  84. 84
    Tenar Arha says:

    I can hardly talk about this stuff without losing my cool. But Adam the other day was right.

    Regarding Representative Omar, I can’t hardly talk about this without worrying about offending anyone who’s related to me, and I’ve got the benefit of the doubt on my side bc I’m Jewish. I’m not surprised that her advocacy against the unjust suspicions directed at US citizens who are Muslim (and for Palestinians) keeps on getting her into trouble, nor am I surprised that everyone keeps trying to police & parse her words into their being able to take offense.

    Yes, the word allegiance is loaded. But it was loaded long ago by the exact same people who now performatively display the Israeli flag opposite the American flag when their only relationship to Israel is part of the prophecies that used to get Jewish people killed. That’s a big effing offensive problematic display that pisses me off when Christians do it, & worries me when Jewish people do it outside of the context of a temple. It’s a propaganda play that infuriates me every time I see it, just like Trump’s humping the flag at CPAC.

    The continuing lurch of Israel & US to white supremacy & nationalism, combined with the weight of Christians’ biblical prophecies is bad for Israel, American Jewish people, and the US. And I’ll probably hold a grudge forever against Likud, Netanyahu, & the Christian religious right here for encouraging it. They helped spread the propaganda against refugees that got American Jewish people killed. I won’t forget, and Rep Omar, who was once a refugee, had nothing to do with that.

  85. 85
    tobie says:

    I haven’t been paying close attention to Omar’s tweets or the reaction to them because I don’t think this is going to be a learning moment in US politics. Whatever positions people hold will only be hardened in this debate. I’ll only say that if Omar’s citizenship or patriotism have been questioned by a Democrat, the party should censure that person. She, however, also needs to be careful about her rhetoric as an elected representative. I thought her apology after the ‘benjamin’ tweet was spot on. But her questioning of Elliot Abrams struck me as pretty autocratic. You don’t call someone a liar and then say, no, you can’t respond to the accusation, this is my time. By all means, go after Abrams for things he has done in the past or may be planning to do now in Venezuela. But do it in a way that seems like more than an ad hominem attack.

  86. 86
    BobS says:

    @But her emails!!!: My own two Democratic Senators (Stabenow and Peters) just demonstrated more allegiance to Israel than the US Constitution.

  87. 87
    The Dangerman says:

    @PPCLI:

    Two things can be true together: that Omar’s basic points are absolutely correct, and that she should take more care…

    This.

  88. 88
    patrick II says:

    How would most of us take it if some American Indians rolled up to our house in a tank and said we had to leave because their gods had given them the rights to the land in perpetuity and we were temporary trespassers?
    As far as Israeli right wing is concerned, the two state solution has been a negotiating sham for many years while they built settlements and expand outward.
    The Jewish leader who was most willing to trade land for peace, Yitzhak Rabin, was murdered by a conservative jew.
    The right wing of the Jewish state intends to expand to fill all of ancient Israel and right wing zealots are the ones in political control.
    I understand how desperate the jews surviving WWII were to find a safe place where they could control their own destiny. I was genuinely shocked at the anti-semitism displayed at Charlottesville. I knew they were anti-black and anti-brown; I did not know those racists were still carrying that grudge, so antisemitism is still a dangerous idea, and I respect that.
    Having said that, opposing Israeli policy is not the same as antisemitism, although it is AIPAC’s intention to make it so. I do not support the continuing expansion of Israel into the Arab territory of Palestine. We say we support them because they are the sole democracy in the middle east, but that is not true if they suppress the majority of their people as they must do as they expand into territory where others live.
    Sorry if this all seems so obvious, but I don’t really hear it said too often.

  89. 89
    tobie says:

    @Immanentize:

    And it seems that the Bibi thumb might have also been employed on the 2016 election scales.

    I’ve been wondering about Israel’s involvement in the 2016 election for some time and would love to see more reporting on it. Do you have any links?

  90. 90
    Lumpy says:

    Word choices do matter, and certain phrases which are dog whistles can be avoided, while still making the exact same point. I hope she is learning from this.

  91. 91
    rp says:

    One simple thing Omar and others could do to eliminate most of these criticisms is to start saying “Netanyahu” and “Likud” instead of Israel. Others have already alluded to this, but 99% of what we’re talking about is the unholy alliance between Netanyahu and RW a-holes in the US. Many American Jews are going to be sensitive about comments about Israel for all of the reasons discussed — they assume it’s a proxy for Jews and that Jews are being accused of being the puppet masters pulling the strings of the new world order. Focusing on the Likud makes it clear that it’s a policy issue connected to a person and a party. It’s not a perfect solution, but it would be incredibly helpful in moving the conversation forward and changing hearts and minds here in the US.

  92. 92
    Immanentize says:

    @tobie: Hi Tobie. I am out the door to shovel, but I will try to scare some up later, K? I know that there were Israeli analytic firms hired by the Trump Org? RNC? To conduct the same social media efforts as the Russians. And there were reported links to UK Cambridge Analytics from the Gov’t I thought…. I’ll look. Adam probably has this at his fingertips.

    ETA. I know that there is a difference between Israeli firms and the Israeli government but these guys were still linked into the intelligence services (once a spy, always a spy?)

  93. 93
    The Moar You Know says:

    This is one of those things where most of us know the score; namely, that Omar is right. We have a horrendous and one-sided relationship with Israel that is most definitely not in America’s best interests. But you can’t say so in public in 2019 America. You haven’t been able to say it for a long time. And you’re not going to be able to say it in the foreseeable future.

    So, Omar needs to shut up about this, pronto, or else the party is going to be forced to disown her.

  94. 94

    @Betty Cracker: Suit yourself.
    I found the email I wrote them on Jan 30 2018. In blockquotes is what Alice Ollstein wrote, which TPM sneakily corrected without acknowledging that they repeated T’s rhetoric without checking.

    Trump’s plan would result in 22 million fewer people immigrating legally to the U.S. over the next 50 years, with both citizens and permanent residents no longer able to sponsor their parents, grandparents, adult children, siblings, and other relatives. But Cornyn insisted Monday that the plan, by reallocating visas to address the current processing waitlist, is actually pro-family.

    Correction: First of all citizens can only petition for their spouses, children,parents and siblings under the current law. There is no provision to sponsor grandparents or other relatives. Other than parents, spouse and children under 21, all other categories are subject to strict annual quotas)
    GC holders cannot sponsor their parents. From the USCIS website.

    To petition for your parents (mother or father) to live in the United States as green card holders, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. Green card holders (permanent residents) may not petition to bring parents to live permanently in the United States.

    WTF TPM, that’s sloppy reporting and playing into the right wing narrative. I expect better from you.
    A citizen cannot sponsor their grandparents or other relatives. Period.

  95. 95
    BobS says:

    @tobie: Abrams pled guilty to lying to Congress- he confessed to being a liar. After Omar pointed that out, he proceeded to lie again, repeatedly e.g., asserting Duarte was elected in a free election and stating El Salvador has been a democracy since 1984.

  96. 96
    gene108 says:

    It’s hard to have a rational debate on Israel, where one side – the Fundies – are cynically using America’s long standing alliance with Israel to promote their doomsday dreams, American Jews, who feel threatened by anti-Semitism and are reassured by a Jewish state existing, and actual anti-Semites, who criticize Israel as part of their overarching belief that Jews run the world and other theories.

    I would say, at least, Fundies and Nazies, are not bargaining in good faith, in either their defense of Israel or their criticism of it. And they suck up a lot of the debate.

    Hard to thread the needle about honest questions about our relationship with Israel and internal Israeli politics, and how it impacts U.S. policy, while the knuckledraggers are sucking all the oxygen out of the room.

  97. 97
    tobie says:

    @Immanentize: Thanks! We should ask Adam to write a post on this. I’ve heard about individual Israeli actors involved in various digital operations to support Trump but would be curious if there were Israeli firms involved which are known to do work for the IDF. I don’t think the Israeli govt would have been directly involved in any activity (plausible deniability and all that), but I could easily see them using private defense contractors with known ties to the govt to meddle in US elections. Good luck shoveling!

  98. 98

    @Betty Cracker: George Borjas and Judis may not use T’s crude language, but make no mistake they are just as xenophobic and want the same things T does. Borjas in this interview makes the case against unskilled immigration. He has written many papers against skilled immigration too. The only exception he would make is for people of Einstein’s caliber.
    That Josh Marshall gives these views a place of prominence on his blog, tells me something about him too.
    ETA: Good folks at VDARE love to quote Prof. Borjas.

  99. 99
    chopper says:

    @guachi:

    The basic gist I’m getting is that Jews can never be criticized as someone somewhere will say it’s antisemitic.

    watch it, bub. consider yourself warned. also, you have to compliment my shoes.

  100. 100
    gene108 says:

    @patrick II:

    I understand how desperate the jews surviving WWII were to find a safe place where they could control their own destiny.

    That was the basis of the quick recognition of Israel as a state, but the colonization of Palestine, by European Jews, started decades before the WW1.

    And I think that’s the rub, which never gets addressed here, the modern state of Israel is the last gasp of European colonialism imposing itself on another people (with the exception of the European descendants in the Western Hemisphere and the native peoples).

    Until this gets addressed or acknowledged by the U.S. and Europe, it will be hard to really do anything positive there.

  101. 101
    tobie says:

    @Immanentize:

    ETA. I know that there is a difference between Israeli firms and the Israeli government but these guys were still linked into the intelligence services (once a spy, always a spy?)

    Agreed. And there are firms that are virtual arms of the government in that the only work they do is for the govt. I hope some intrepid reporter systematically traces this. Brad Parscale is a dope and there’s no way he could have engineered Trump’s digital campaign alone or even with the help of others. IMO he was a proxy, a frontman for lots of nefarious actors.

  102. 102
    Cermet says:

    I understand that many in congress are stupid but here at balloon-juice I except more. This fake war about allegiance is beyond stupid. She said

    I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress

    . No where did she say this about other people only herself. This usage is fine and proper. If she said it about other people or congress fools, then that would be a proper argument here.

    I would never criticize Israel while its army and local Evangelical Christian supporters were driven into the sea ;)

  103. 103

    I think Israel/Palestinian relations are a blind spot for the left. In general we have a tendency to morph everything into an oppressor/oppressed frame. We’re getting better with intersectionalism that shows that people can have more power on one axis and less on another, but we’re not good at talking about situations where there is cyclical violence which leads to things escalating.

    Right now, yes, Israel is doing the worst of it. I’ll love it if Netanyahu serves jail time. The new settlements have to be stopped. If Omar said just that, “The continuing expansion of settlements is wrong,” or, “Responding to people throwing rocks by firing bullets is not a proportional attack and the US should withdraw support from a government that regularly does that,” no one would have a problem.

    When you keep venturing into antisemitic territory and do it after being warned on multiple occasions that you’re doing it, then you’re not doing good. It’s not like there isn’t a long history of antisemitism on the left. Britain is dealing with it now. If we don’t draw a line between criticizing Israel’s policies (go on! Knock yourself out! I’ll help!) and criticizing Jews, there’s potential for a long term problem.

  104. 104
    Joe Falco says:

    @sapient:

    Look, I understand. It would be better if a more diverse set of US politicians were making these observations and criticisms as well as Rep. Omar. That the task has fallen to a Muslim woman highlights a failure on the part of acceptable discourse in this country, and that’s no fault of the congresswoman. But, c’mon, I don’t want it that she has to hold her tongue until someone else in Congress says it. If that’s the case, when would be the right time for her to say something? When she has fifty Democrats supporting her? 30? 10? 5? Can they be women or does she need a white Christian man to speak for her? Will it take Israel making the news for another instance of it crushing the human rights of Palestinians before she can say something?

  105. 105
    Fair Economist says:

    First, Omar is mostly criticizing people who aren’t even Jewish. The ravening support for Israel comes mostly from the Christian right.

    Second, misdeeds and bad faith actions are wrong and need to be called out and stopped, even if the misdoers belong to a group that’s been falsely accused in the past.

    The kurfluffles over 90’s rap references and a bog-standard dictionary word usage are an attempt to distract from her very reasonable criticisms.

  106. 106
    stinger says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Many people expected Barack Obama to avoid talking about race issues. I didn’t agree with that, and I think a Muslim representative is entitled to speak about Israel-related issues.

  107. 107

    I think the same rule that we apply to blacks and racist language applies to Jews and antisemitic language; if Jews say it is antisemitic, it is, however nicely the speaker dresses it up. It’s a dog-whistle. Even if Represenative Omar isn’t using deliberately making a call-out to antisemites, antisemites will hear support in her words. As Rabbi Ruti Regan said on Twitter, “Things that apparently need saying in this repetitive stale hell of a news cycle: 1) Neither the American Jewish community nor Israel is secretly hypnotizing America. 2) Congresswoman Omar is not a terrorist and the American Muslim community is not a terrorist group.” (https://twitter.com/RutiRegan/status/1102386123526029313)

    I wish Representative Omar would apologize and continue to make her argument about US support for Israel.

  108. 108
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    .it was remarkable how much narrower the range of acceptable discourse on Israel is in the USA than it is in… Israel.

    Isn’t that exactly the simple truth? And anyone who wants to call me anti-Semitic for that belief is invited to fuck themselves sideways with a recently excavated and heavily oxidized Hanukkiah.

  109. 109
    chopper says:

    @Joe Falco:

    and that’s the thing. she wasn’t referring to jews when she said ‘allegiance to israel’. she was referring to herself and generally to america, which is like 98% non-jewish.

    where the trope comes into play is the general idea people have that israel aka the jews lead this country around. the problem being that israel itself has an oversized influence on this country’s foreign policy and criticizing that isn’t saying “it’s the jooz!”. it is, however, one of those landmines that’s hard to avoid when making rational criticism, and israel’s government and many supporters have gotten very good at making it as hard to avoid as possible.

  110. 110
    stinger says:

    @Tenar Arha:

    the exact same people who now performatively display the Israeli flag opposite the American flag when their only relationship to Israel is part of the prophecies that used to get Jewish people killed.

    Excellent point.

  111. 111
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Religion ruins everything.

  112. 112

    @rp: I love that idea so much that I’m going to steal it. Israel is a complicated country that is tied to Judaism in a way that it makes it uncomfortable when people attack it. The Likud government is a political party that is doing awful things and needs to be attacked. If you just say “Likud” instead of “Israel,” it not only prevents you from being accused of being antisemitic, it makes it more difficult to be so, as you’re forced to talk about policies instead of anything else.

  113. 113
    low-tech cyclist says:

    I understand why the word ‘allegiance’ is touchy as far as Jews are concerned. Historically, they were regarded as ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ whose allegiance was to the Jewish people rather than to the country they lived in.

    Not that they had a whole lot of choice: in any period of widespread difficulty in a country, blaming it on the Jews was always an easy out for the rulers. There would be a pogrom, and the Jews would have to move on to a (always temporarily) safer country. This is why two of my grandparents were brought to the U.S. by their parents from eastern Europe before WWI. You wouldn’t have much allegiance to the country you resided in either, if you knew you could be forced to leave at any time.

    That said, a policy that penalizes people for speaking out against the policies of a foreign country, and backing it up with their spending choices, is inherently a demand of allegiance to that foreign country. Though I would emphatically not consider myself a patriot, why any patriotic American would put up with such a thing is beyond me.

    Given the history of the term ‘allegiance,’ the proper course was for AIPAC and other American Jewish organizations to have nothing to do with promoting laws that demand any degree of allegiance to Israel. It’s absolutely fair for them to lobby for a strong U.S.-Israeli alliance. It’s absolutely fair for them to lobby for greater U.S. aid to Israel. That nations have alliances with other nations, and that rich countries aid other countries, does nothing to erode anyone’s allegiance. But this rash of anti-BDS legislation crosses that line.

    AIPAC can’t throw money around to ensure the passage of pro-Israel legislation, and then cry anti-Semitism when they’re criticized for throwing their money around. And AIPAC can’t support laws requiring a degree of allegiance to Israel on the part of Americans, and then cry anti-Semitism when people use the word ‘allegiance’ in denouncing those laws.

  114. 114
    Wapiti says:

    @tobie:

    But her questioning of Elliot Abrams struck me as pretty autocratic. You don’t call someone a liar and then say, no, you can’t respond to the accusation, this is my time. By all means, go after Abrams for things he has done in the past or may be planning to do now in Venezuela. But do it in a way that seems like more than an ad hominem attack.

    I disagree. She wasn’t questioning whether he previously lied to Congress: that was proven in court. (He was pardoned by GHW Bush; a pardon of the lies he made in support of Reagan’s (and Bush’s?) Iran-Contra affair). It is perfectly reasonable to preface the questioning by noting that he has lied in the past.

    The difference between Elliot Abrams and Cohen is that no Democrat is going to make Cohen part of their administration.

  115. 115
    BobS says:

    @David Steinberg: I understand the current political exigencies of the distinction. But Likud didn’t enjoy any political power until the late 1970’s, by which time there was a lot of water under the bridge. Focusing on Likud obscures some bad behavior that came before (as well as after).

  116. 116
    Kelly says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Someone smart once said that it was remarkable how much narrower the range of acceptable discourse on Israel is in the USA than it is in… Israel

    This has been true for a long time. I spent most of a year in the early 1990’s working on a project with about a dozen Israelis. They were all secular Jews and had scathing comments about the “crazy black hats” reactionary Jews.

    That said getting the language right is a courtesy I owe my fellow humans. I grew up with n***** work a common description of a chore like digging a ditch. My Mom still uses “Jewing down” for bargaining. Yes, I cringe but at 82 I don’t think I can fix it. Renaming places and things which use Squaw is still considered annoying and pointless by many Oregonians. We have a lot of loaded language.

  117. 117
    rp says:

    @BobS: Do you want to change minds or write a dissertation?

  118. 118

    @BobS: yeah but the 70s are a much different era for Israel. The Yom Kippur war was still a very fresh memory and it wasn’t like they were the obvious powerhouse in the area the way they are now.

  119. 119
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat: We’ll have to agree to disagree about TPM, but I really do appreciate your taking the time to dig up links, and good for you for pushing back on the sloppy reporting in that 2017 story. No reporter should take Trump’s word for anything, ever.

  120. 120
    BobS says:

    @rp: How about I don’t want people to believe a lie? Pre-Likud Israel wasn’t some halcyon time for Palestinians, nuclear proliferation, or some US sailors.

  121. 121
    JDM says:

    @dr. bloor:

    “Allegiance” is the perfect word. Marshall needs to check his ego; everyone else’s reaction is pretty much what I would expect.

    Josh is using his own restrictive definition instead of the actual definition. This is a classic logical fallacy.

  122. 122
    tobie says:

    @Wapiti: Open hearings have two purposes: to ferret out new information and to make a case to the American people. If you’re not doing either, you’re not being effective. The issue here is not whether Rep. Omar was right or wrong but how she can do her job better.

  123. 123
    Fair Economist says:

    @Betty Cracker: Marshall frontpaged a link to an article beating a totally ridiculous immigration strawman for YEARS. He is not arguing in good faith on immigration.

  124. 124

    @Betty Cracker: I read TPM myself. They are credible about a lot of stuff but I always double check their immigration related reporting.

  125. 125
  126. 126

    @BobS: the point is that if you’re criticizing, it’s much more consistent with how we speak in general to say, “I’m opposed to the actions of this government,” than “I’m opposed to the country.”

    “The Likud is doing awful things,” doesn’t mean that everything else has been wonderful any more than, “The Trump administration is horrible,” makes the WMD Iraq War fiasco good policy. It’s just a way of forcing the focus on policies instead of people.

  127. 127
    Van Buren says:

    It’s funny how anyone who criticizes Israel is told they’re doing it wrong; reminds me of how African Americans are always told they are protesting inappropriately.

  128. 128
    rp says:

    @BobS: Strawman. Focusing on Netanyahu and the Likud now to effect change doesn’t require us to think that pre-Likud Israel was halcyon or that Labor was perfect.

  129. 129
    rp says:

    @Van Buren: I thought it was more like African Americans being told “don’t be so sensitive. No need to pull out the race card.”

  130. 130
    BobS says:

    @David Steinberg: I understand your point. However, Israel has benefited from the myth of it’s creation and settlement (as has the US, and as smarter people than me have pointed out, it’s those parallels that make it attractive to some Americans). That misunderstanding of history contributes to the misunderstanding of the present.

  131. 131

    @Van Buren: It’s more like if you’re going to venture opinions on a highly complex problem that has massive religious overtones and two groups who have both suffered massive recent oppression, it’s best to think before speaking. I attacked Trump for the embassy move for the same exact reason.

  132. 132
    BobS says:

    @rp: No, it requires you to not think at all. It’s impossible to understand what’s happening in Israel/the West Bank/Gaza and the Middle East at large by focusing on Netanyahu and Likud.

  133. 133
    zzyzx says:

    I don’t know why I posted under “David Steinberg” instead of Zzyzx but I guess it showed my biases on this issue :)

  134. 134
    rp says:

    @BobS: Do you apply the same standard to every issue? Do I need to go through the entire history of baseball free agency and the relationship between teams and players before I can say “gee, signing Bryce Harper for 13 years and $330m is a bad investment?”

  135. 135
    BobS says:

    @rp: Actually, some understanding of free agency/player performance is necessary to understand whether that’s a good or bad investment, although your example comparing it to baseball kind of trivializes the Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the large concentration camp called Gaza.
    Do you think it’s helpful to have some understanding of slavery and Jim Crow to have an appreciation for current political movements like Black Lives Matter?

  136. 136
    dmbeaster says:

    The problem with Israel and the de facto prohibition against discussing it is a serious problem for US policy. It is more serious than whether or not someone uses exactly the right words to describe the problem. The more toxic aspect of this overall topic is the kneejerk response that criticisms are anti-semetic. I am less concerned that the criticisms avoid all possible connotations of possible anti-semeticism than I am that the issues be aired. This debate about “allegiance” is yet another diversion into debating anti-semeticism rather than the issue itself. The word is less than ideal, but frankly, so what. I do not see an anti-semetic intent here.

    I dont think we are so plagued with anti-semeticism that we cannot tell when it is or is not happening, and must scrutinize all words to cleanse them of any possible implication before discussing the substantive policy issue.

    Also, the question of loyalty to the US or loyalty to Israel is a real question, and not just anti-semeticism. It presents itself as a real world problem in the defense and intelligence services, when loyalty to the US sometimes requires keeping secrets from Israel to its disadvantage or doing things strongly opposed by Israel. The notion that this creates a conflict is not an anti-semetic notion. The whole Pollard affair, and the reaction to it, has made it clear to me that this issue is real and falsely called anti-semetic.

  137. 137
    rp says:

    @BobS: Spare me. It was just an example. And the point is not whether having that understanding is helpful to the discussion. Of course it’s very helpful. The point is whether we need to walk through that history each and every time the issue is discussed. I think it’s entirely possible to say in 2019 that “we need to oppose the horrible and inhumane policies of Netanyahu and the Likud” without going into the entire history of Palestine, Israel, the Balfour Declaration, etc. The former statement doesn’t in any way suggest that the latter history is being ignored or forgotten.

  138. 138
    Zzyzx says:

    @rp: Also I think it’s possible to stop those policies. I’m feeling less hopeful about coming up with some easy solution to that region that will actually work. If nothing else, deescalation is the first step that has to be done before anything else, so work on that as step A, and one step there is to say that the US government opposes these policies. By making them about the government instead of the country, the debate can be advanced instead of sidetracked.

  139. 139
    BobS says:

    @rp: Sorry- it wasn’t a great example.
    The entire history doesn’t need to be discussed “each and every time” any issue is discussed, so long as the discussion reflects an awareness of that history. My experience has been that people discussing the topic of Israel/Palestine, civil rights in the United States, and even baseball free agency often do so out of a profound ignorance of the topic.
    With respect to issues like Israel/Palestine and civil rights in the US, Palestinians and black people become more sympathetic figures when history is accurately depicted.

  140. 140
    Ivan X says:

    @BobS: The way that I hear you participate in this discussion suggests not simply disapproval, or disdain, but hatred of Israel. That doesn’t mean you have hatred of Jews, or even individual Israelis, and I’ll try give you the benefit of the doubt and hope you don’t.

    But when I hear language that sounds like hatred, my radar goes off, whether fairly, or unfairly. Phrases like “Knesset West” are anti-Semitic because they claim that Israel controls our country (which you in fact stated directly in a later comment). Ok, so what, except that there longstanding pre-Israel tropes about Jews conspiring to secretly control the world used as pretense to murder them, and it’s not as if those tropes are ancient history in this country and others.

    So, do you want to discuss in good faith, or do you want us to hate Israel with you? Because it sounds to me like the latter, and if you want us to hate, I have to wonder whether some of that hatred is consciously or unconsciously attached to the majority ethnic and religious and inhabitants of Israel, based on the language you use, and your explicit rejection of less loaded language suggested by others.

  141. 141
    rp says:

    @BobS: I appreciate that (and agree with it). But going back to my original comment, I simply think focusing on Netanyahu and the Likud at this moment in time is the most effective way to push back on Israel and bring about real change. One can do so while keeping that history in mind IMO.

  142. 142
    Jon Marcus says:

    @stinger: Muslims are “entitled” to speak about Israel? Are you saying that all billion or so Muslims somehow have experience that informs any issues related to Israel? In the same way that any African-America person’s experience that informs and applies to race issues in the US? Color me dubious.

    Would a hypothetical Indonesian Protestant Christian who converts to Islam somehow have unique experiences and knowledge re Israel?? How about an Ethiopian Orthodox Catholic.

  143. 143
    Amber says:

    @Mnemosyne: To be sure! No one should be questioned about their loyalty just because of their religion. But the fact that she has been insulted doesn’t give her grounds to insult others. Like, I wouldn’t use any number of well known dog whistles about people of color and excuse myself on the basis that people use antisemitic dog whistles when referring to me.

  144. 144
    chopper says:

    @Jon Marcus:

    is it your opinion that she is not entitled to speak about israel-related issues? if so, by what particular mechanism should she be silenced?

  145. 145
    Socrates says:

    She’s an anti-Semite.

  146. 146
    Glenn Ricafrente says:

    @tobie:

    Brad Parscale is a dope and there’s no way he could have engineered Trump’s digital campaign alone or even with the help of others. IMO he was a proxy, a frontman for lots of nefarious actors.

    So basically Brad Parscale was like Tattaglia, who was a pimp and never could have outfought Santino… It was Barzini all along.

  147. 147
    James E Powell says:

    @Immanentize:

    The complaint is one of Jewish dual allegiance — that they are really not American and don’t value the US because they are really alligned with Israel.

    I had the impression that the “they” referred to elected officials not Jewish people.

  148. 148
    eemom says:

    I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel.

    Who exactly tells her THAT every day? The point about her “Americanness” being questioned “on a daily basis” by trump and the GOP makes sense as a general statement….but the more specific alleged accusation requires some elaboration, especially when she’s using it as the basis for her own highly charged “allegiance” accusation.

    I recognize I’m an outlier here, but I find nothing to admire in this woman’s deliberately shit-stirring rhetoric. Don’t tell me she doesn’t know by now what the implications of those kinds of statements are; that’s bullshit. See, for example, her snippy response to what was essentially just a plea for understanding from Nita Lowey in the first tweet above. She’s not interested in dialoguing with the Jewish community — those allegiance betraying, world hypnotizing, benjamin loving motherfuckers.

  149. 149
    A Ghost To Most says:

    All religions suck. The Abrahamic religions suck worst.

    Religious assholes will destroy the world in the names of their sky fairies.

  150. 150
    BobS says:

    @Ivan X: “Knesset West” bothers you? You should probably re-examine the vote tally on any issue pertaining to Israel, including the recent one where my Senators Stabenow and Peters ignored the First Amendment of the United States that they did in fact pledge allegiance to. There’s less dissent or disagreement between Democrats and Republicans than virtually any other issue the congress votes on.
    Too often, those “tropes” you refer to are cited in bad faith- like I think you’re doing, when you misrepresent a comment of mine about “a louder voice” to mean “Israel controls”- to sidetrack criticisms of the apartheid state of Israel, which I suppose I do hate, similar to the way I hate the vestiges of Jim Crow America or virtually everything about Saudi Arabia. Blind support of Israel has been harmful to the United States, and it’s well past the time the people of the United States demand better.

  151. 151
    misterpuff says:

    The phrase is “In Thrall” to a foreign power.

  152. 152
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Ivan X:

    Phrases like “Knesset West” are anti-Semitic because they claim that Israel controls our country.

    Not anti-Semitic, anti-Israel.
    Stop conflating them.

  153. 153
    BobS says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Actually, it was intended to mock the US Congress’ predilection for placing the interests of a foreign country ahead of those of the United States or the Bill of Rights.
    Due to it’s overuse by people like Ivan X, the “anti-Semitic” libel is losing it’s sting. That’s both good (like when it’s used in bad faith to deter criticism of Israel), and bad (for when we see instances of real anti-Semitism, like Pittsburgh or Charlottesville).

  154. 154
    Ivan X says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Did you even read the very next sentences that I wrote, where I explain why they are anti-Semitic? There’s a century of cultural history that forms the basis of that conflation. Those attempting to speak reasonably about how they feel can do so in good faith with non-loaded language, or loaded language that suggests indifference towards who it hurts or provokes. I’m saying, as Jew, it’s loaded language. Are you going to tell me otherwise?

    @BobS: I’ll say, as sincerely as I can, that I am arguing in good faith. I am not attempting to sidetrack anything. I feel that the accusation that I am arguing in bad faith is, itself, in bad faith, because Betty’s post was about language, and the discussion has been largely about language; I’m responding to yours. (I of course do know Jews who don’t argue in good faith, and are far too quick to claim anti-Semitism, but I’m not one of them.). In any event, “Knesset West” sounds to me, before I even got to your next post, like shorthand for “Israel controls America.” And if we want to pick nits, yes, saying Israel has a louder voice than the entire American citizenry also sounds like another way of saying “Israel controls America.” You’re the one using the language; I’m telling you what the words imply, to me. The thing about dog whistles is that they aren’t explicit, and you’re whistling one, whether you intend it or not, or even know it.

  155. 155
    Ivan X says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Did you even read the very next sentences that I wrote, where I explain why they are anti-Semitic? There’s a century of cultural history that forms the basis of that conflation. Those attempting to speak reasonably about how they feel can do so in good faith with non-loaded language, or loaded language that suggests indifference towards who it hurts or provokes. I’m saying, as Jew, it’s loaded language. Are you going to tell me otherwise?

    @BobS: I’ll say, as sincerely as I can, that I am arguing in good faith. I am not attempting to sidetrack anything. I feel that the accusation that I am arguing in bad faith is, itself, in bad faith, because Betty’s post was about language, and the discussion has been largely about language; I’m responding to yours. (I of course do know Jews who don’t argue in good faith, and are far too quick to claim anti-Semitism.) In any event, “Knesset West” sounds to me, before I even got to your next post, like shorthand for “Israel controls America.” And if we want to pick nits, yes, saying Israel has a louder voice than the entire American citizenry also sounds like another way of saying “Israel controls America.” You’re the one using the language; I’m telling you what the words imply, to me. The thing about dog whistles is that they aren’t explicit, and you’re whistling one, whether you intend it or not, or even know it. Do you want to look at that, or do you want to just tell me I’m not entitled to how I feel? I at least respect your owning hating Israel (and others, as you noted); it’s an honest position. Not choosing to look at how you say what you say, and how it affects others, is not.

  156. 156
    germy says:

    gop aims at dems, misses

    dems take the gun, aim it at their own feet

    *fires*

    "see, that's how you do it," the dems explain, as they begin bleeding out

    — Oliver Willis (@owillis) March 4, 2019

  157. 157
    The Pale Scot says:

    @rp:

    but “allegiance” is a very poor choice of words.

    How about “catspaw”

  158. 158
    BobS says:

    @Ivan X:
    More often than not in debates about Israel, “anti-Semitic” is used in bad faith to place it’s critics on the defensive. If that’s the way you heard my statements, I’m sorry, it wasn’t the way they were intended (you’ll have to trust me the way you’re asking me to trust you).
    You want to pick nits, fine. Regarding my mocking the US Congress as “Knesset West”- can you find me just a few instances from the past 10-20-50 years where Israel hasn’t enjoyed the near-unanimous support of of the House or Senate, and any other issues that have received a similar consensus, year after year after year? Or any other issue where the parameters of debate are so narrowly constrained, with members of both parties so quick to chastise any of their own that stray from the straight-and-narrow (like Rep.Omar)?
    With respect to the outsize influence of Israel- again, what other foreign country or US city/state/or territory receives the same uncritical support (often, even post disaster, like NOLA or Puerto Rico), financial and otherwise? Is it just a coincidence that 500+ people (times the past however many congresses) share exactly the same sentiments about that one (and only that one) issue?

  159. 159
    Betty Cracker says:

    See, this is the kind of shit that drives me nuts — the second sentence:

    Fuck you, no, it’s not “unacceptable” to question support for any foreign country. (It’s not “unacceptable” to say “fuck the USA” for that matter, though it would be impolitic.)

    People who aspire to be non-assholes should listen when someone tells them their language is hurtful. How else would we ever learn or grow? But Juan Vargas can cram that totalitarian shit up his ass.

  160. 160
    J R in WV says:

    @The Midnight Lurker:

    Down here in the south, it’s the hard right wing evangelicals that are the most vocal supporters of Israel. This even more perplexing as these same people will denounce ‘Jewish interference’ in the next breath. It has to do with their belief that when the Jews turn Christian (?) then God pulls the plug, and all us dirty hippies will be cast down into the fiery pit of hell and they can point and laugh from Heaven.

    Bless their tiny black hearts!!!

    I personally support the Jewish peoples, as opposed to the nation of Israel, which currently appears to be run like a Trump scam by Bibi N.

  161. 161
    BobS says:

    @Betty Cracker: Maybe this is just a clever way for her fellow Democrats to help Rep.Omar prove her point.
    Or maybe they’re just assholes.

  162. 162
    Neldob says:

    I have learned to precede anything I say about Israel with the fact I want Israel to exist and I support a 2 state solution. The path the country is following is making that impossible. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. Really, I was way more shocked (I tell you) at what Adam wrote about Israeli connections to south American drug gangs.

  163. 163
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Betty Cracker: The responses to his tweet are probably not what he expected.

  164. 164
    J R in WV says:

    @BobS:

    …the attempt by the Senate (each member who I believe pledged their allegiance to the US Constitution) to suppress the free speech rights of the American citizenry by essentially outlawing BDS (thank you, Senators Stabenow and Peters).

    I see that you are a Russo-troll, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what “outlawing BDS” means, at all. What the hell is BDS, and how or why would it be outlawed. And I thought I was well informed?!

  165. 165
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @J R in WV: Stands for “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions.” IIRC modeled after the divestment movement aimed at apartheid-era South Africa.

  166. 166
    BobS says:

    @J R in WV: From Senate Bill 1 of 2019-2020:
    “Combating BDS Act of 2019
    The bill allows a state or local government to adopt measures to divest its assets from entities using boycotts, divestments, or sanctions to influence Israel’s policies. Such measures shall meet various requirements, including those related to written notice and comment.”
    By the way, I can see you’re a poorly informed asshole whose tendency is to blindly flail when you run into things that are difficult for you to comprehend- which probably describes 23 or 24 hours of your day.

  167. 167
    EmbraceYourInnerCrone says:

    @J R in WV

    They are talking about this sort of law ( about 22 states have laws like Texas that prohibit contractors who work for the state from participating in a boycott of Israel):

    https://www.newsweek.com/teacher-fired-refusing-sign-pro-israel-document-1262083

    “Bahia Amawi, who had worked at the school district for nine years, was given a new contract in September. The document required her to affirm “that she does not currently boycott Israel and will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract.” When she declined to sign, she “was forced to terminate her contractual relationship with the school district.”

    “Pflugerville [Independent School District] has learned of a lawsuit filed in federal district court by a former contractor claiming a violation of her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The District cannot address the specifics of pending litigation; however, PfISD followed state law (Chapter 2270 of the Texas Government Code), which does not allow school districts to hire a contractor unless the contract contains a written verification that the contractor does not boycott Israel and will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract.

  168. 168
    Slightly Peeved says:

    @Immanentize:
    I hold British and Australian citizenship. No pledge of allegiance required in either case. In fact, many citizenships are granted automatically and very difficult (if not impossible) to revoke. The Australian Parliament had a bit of a crisis last year when it turned out a group of members held dual citizenship without realising, when members of Parliament are banned from holding dual citizenship by our Constitution.

  169. 169
    Scotian says:

    @cmorenc:

    Maybe instead of “allegiance” the more accurate framing would be that the US is trapped in a relationship with an abusive, manipulative family relationship with Israel. One in which a key part of the abuser’s tactics is trying to shame anyone who calls out the relationship for what it is.

    I’ve read over 150+ comments as of the start of this comment in this thread and I think this one is the one I like the best.

    As to this controversy, as I understand it she was talking about herself, not claiming it for another subset of the whole/group. She is arguing that she is a lone voice in a very rare bipartisan and of decades length standing policy and practical reality of American politics and she is unwilling to be party to it. The actual facts of the relationship between the US and Israel, especially since Bibi came to power onward, as well as the longer term going back many decades record, show this to be inarguable reality. I’m Canadian, and a very well politically educated one, I know our security, economic, and social interests dwarf even Isreal’s in truth vis-a-vis American interests, yet the actual impact of our government on your policy culture and objectives is laughably minimal by comparison to Israel’s political lobby power within the American political dynamic/reality. That says something about the level of disproportionality at the center of her comments I would suggest/argue.

    For a lot of us up here it really is like watching a sibling in an abusive marriage and watching with horror the spillover effects even into the wider family without being able to stop it or even say anything for fear of them drawing further into that mire. The warpage of American policy goals over the past 20 years in that region in particular by the concerted efforts in the Israeli governments simply is. The proof of that is there in the Congressional record, kinda hard to argue that. The anti-BDS actions clearly do violate basic Constitutional precepts as I’ve always understood them to be according to American norms, it is clearly impacting one’s political freedoms and free speech in one’s own life, something I always used to find Americans mostly united in seeing as sancrosact in protecting even when in disagreement with.

    I usually try to stay away from commenting on issues regarding Israel, but this issue is so basic and fundamental it is hard to ignore always, and watching the level of false equating of Israel=Jews=”can’t-touch-this!”=anti-semite has not been one of my favourite things in life where watching humans deal with other humans is concerned. I see nothing here except what it looks like according to cmorenc as quoted above, and I’ve seen this so many times now, the variations on this them has been endless in both numbers as well as ability to infuriate/disgust/appall.

    Lastly, I would note that I am dealing with caring for my parents as they are approaching their deaths, likely within this year for both of them. I write and comment little these days because of it, and that essentially on Russia related matters for the most part. Yet I took the time for this one, because it matters that much because it really does reflect IMHO one of the more to arguably most dangerous realities within American foreign policy political dynamics and by virtue of the nature of American power global dynamics, and in a very unhealthy way.

    When ANY government declares that its actions cannot be questioned because it is xenophobic in some manner to do so it places it beyond the accountability we in western societies expect in our rule of law open structure societies/cultures. The right wing within Israeli politics has made this their standard, and because of the living history even now of WWII, it makes it particularly potent a weapon, but all weapons come with their own costs in use. The ones involved in this one have been ugly enough and I fear will be uglier yet before all is said and done where its use is concerned. Another thing I am not looking forward to watching my fellow humans do to each other either.

    Now, before it gets too late I have to go visit with one of those two ailing parents I mentioned, anyone wants to take issue or critique fair warning, I won’t see it for at least a couple of hours or so at the minimum. So lack of reply in that period means nothing but that.

  170. 170
    EthylEster says:

    @satby: AND Japanese Americans

  171. 171
    EthylEster says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: Don’t forget about the red heifer.

  172. 172
    EthylEster says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Thanks, cat, for mentioning Josh Marshall’s horrible writing style. It makes my skin crawl. I will also note that frequently his site has posts with text that basically just repeats the headline. Cheesy.

  173. 173
    Neldob says:

    @BobS: blind support for Israel is not good for Israel.

  174. 174
    BroD says:

    Agree that support for Israel is different than allegiance to Israel.
    Also, support for Israel is different than support for the current Israeli leadership (or support for all Israeli policies and actions.)

  175. 175
    TTT says:

    @gene108: Most Israeli Jews have no European background at all. And if Israel is purely a “colonial” state, where do the Jews really belong? Where are we really indigenous to, if NOT the Levant?

    Think it’s frustrating having well-intentioned criticisms of Israel get called antisemitic? Try having ill-read strangers act like they are entitled to bluff their way through a discussion of your life.

  176. 176
    debbie says:

    @TTT:

    Most Israeli Jews have no European background at all.

    I’m not sure you’re correct. What’s your source? The majority of settlers may come from the U.S., but I’d bet just about all of their ancestors emigrated from Europe.

  177. 177
    EthylEster says:

    @Cermet wrote:

    I understand that many in congress are stupid but here at balloon-juice I except more. This fake war about allegiance is beyond stupid.

    Thanks for writing this.

  178. 178
    TTT says:

    @BobS: “I hate Saudi Arabia too” is not as worthwhile a fact here as you think it is. As the saying goes, the law equally forbids both rich and poor from sleeping on park benches. Something like 45% of all the Jews left in the world live in Israel, most of the rest have family there, and a supermajority want it to keep existing (while differing on where the borders should be). You have to grapple with that – with the inescapable, life-or-death importance of Israel as perceived by most Jews. If Jews had the privilege of there also being a Jewish Qatar and Jewish UAE and Jewish Bahrain and a few dozen others, THEN Israel would be just the Jewish Saudi Arabia.

  179. 179
    TTT says:

    @debbie: My source is basic fact. Most Israeli Jews are Mizrahi, the descendents of those who were purged and ethnically cleansed from MENA countries like Iraq and Syria and Egypt. Look it up. Then ask yourself if anything else you thought you knew about Israel might also be wrong.

  180. 180
    debbie says:

    @TTT:

    Then ask yourself if anything else you thought you knew about Israel might also be wrong.

    Nope, no worries at all about that. Listen for those New York accents next time you’re out and about.

  181. 181
    TTT says:

    @debbie: So you really don’t even care whether you’re wrong about something, but you’re sure you can never ever ever be called racist about it.

  182. 182
    EthylEster says:

    @debbie:

    I’m not sure you’re correct.

    I believe that might depend on how Russian Jews are classified.
    Is Russia part of Europe? If not, is it Asia? Or what?

  183. 183
    Ivan X says:

    @BobS: I’m not disputing (or agreeing with) anything you are saying about Israel’s influence in the US. I don’t see it as you do, but you are entitled to your view. I’m objecting to your choice of words because of their implication of Jewish conspiracy, which, like it or not, is a very well established and very much alive staple of anti-Semitic rhetoric. Please note that I am not calling you an anti-Semite, nor saying you intended to say something anti-Semitic. But…you did say it. “Knesset West” is, to my ear, anti-Semitic. I’m glad you didn’t intend it that way, but that’s irrelevant.

  184. 184
    CDWard says:

    Israel:

    – is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist Jewish State;

    – has been stealing, occupying and colonizing Palestinian land and
    oppressing, torturing and killing Palestinians for over 60 years;

    – refuses to honor its obligations under international law;

    – refuses to accept responsibility and accountability for its past and on-going war crimes; and

    – refuses to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

    See http://www.ifamericansknew.org and http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.....dloss.html for more information.

  185. 185
    BobS says:

    @TTT:Bullshit. Israel is not of “inescapable, life-or-death importance” to most of the world’s Jews, particularly those in North America or western Europe, which is where any Israeli with resources would be fleeing if the proverbial shit ever hit the fan (like Christian Zionists are praying for). Israel’s primary importance to the diaspora is symbolic. Decades of conflating Judaism with Zionism has gotten us to where we are today, i.e. criticism of the quasi-fascist apartheid state of Israel = anti-Semitism.
    And by the way, something like 50% of Israeli Jews have European ancestry. For all intents and purposes, Israel is the last standing European colonial project in the Middle East.
    @Ivan X: Fine, to your ear it’s “anti-Semitic”. Your ear is fucking tone-deaf.

  186. 186
    TTT says:

    @BobS: You don’t know anything about Judaism or Israel and can stop bluffing and lying your way through this thread any old time. In all recent polling 70+% of American Jews and 90+% of UK Jews support Israel. So-called “leftists” incessantly compare Trump to the rise of new Nazism, yet in your next breath you say American Jews have no reason to fear? Quit while you’re behind.

  187. 187
    BobS says:

    @TTT: support for Israel =/= “inescapable, life-or-death importance”.
    “So-called “leftists” incessantly compare Trump to the rise of new Nazism…”- when did Breitbart start linking to Balloon Juice?

  188. 188
    TTT says:

    @CDWard: “If Americans Knew” is a goddamned white supremacist militia that says the Blood Libel is true and medieval Jews really did drink Christian blood. They’ve been rejected even by extremist “critics of Israel” like JVP and Electronic Intifada. In a whole entire world full of “critics of Israel” it speaks worlds that this is what you have to stoop to. You might as well quote Westboro Baptist.

    Gotta say, when people swear that their innocent criticism of Israel always gets misconstrued as antisemitism by panicky lying Jews, and then those same people reveal their total and appalling ignorance plus susceptibility to racist conspiracy theories from garbagey hate-kook sources, it almost sounds like their accusers have a point.

  189. 189
    BobS says:

    @TTT: I don’t know whether you’re Jewish or not, but you’re pretty damn good at “panicky lying”.

  190. 190
    TTT says:

    @BobS: What you don’t know could last 190 posts.

  191. 191
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TTT:

    Numerically? Sure, Mizrahi Jews are the most numerous ethnic group. But Israel’s society and culture is still dominated by the Ashkenazi, who are far more likely to attend university and hold white-collar jobs.

    How many current cabinet ministers are Mizrahi, exactly?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mizrahi_Jews_in_Israel#Disparities_and_integration

  192. 192
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TTT:

    CDWard is a known anti-Semitic troll, which is why no one else is responding to him. Add him to your pie filter or ignore him.

  193. 193
    smintheus says:

    @PPCLI: There are several groups in the US who flout their dual loyalties and demand that US policy should advance the interests of that country. Supporters of Israeli right-wing hardliners are one of those groups. Cubans are another. It could be argued that big-league grifters and other supporters of all things desired by the Saudi Arabian regime are a third. They all have way too much influence, and they deserve criticism for their loyalties for foreign states.

    Marshall is blowing smoke again. “Allegiance” simply means loyalty, originally the loyalty owed to a feudal vassal or lord. Had nothing to do specifically with loyalty to a nation state or a nation state’s government.

  194. 194
    BobS says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Whether CD Ward is a troll or not, each of the bullet points he lists are true.
    While TTT’s feverish rant about ‘If Americans Knew’ (“is a goddamned white supremacist militia”) is just batshit fucking crazy.

  195. 195
    TTT says:

    Anyone wanting to defend the white supremacists at If Americans Knew should first google Alison Weir Free American Hour and Alison Weir American Free Press. Their rejection by even highly strident and aggressive critics is likewise just one click away.

    Herr “Knesset-West” on the other hand is comfy accepting white supremacist criticism of Israel because he is a thinly-veiled white supremacist himself.

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