Congressional resolutions are performative nonsense since every member can tell us what he thinks directly, columnist David Harsanyi says
Poor Ilhan Omar has been denied a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I certainly did not or was not aware that the word ‘hypnotized’ was a trope,” the congresswoman told CNN’s Dana Bash this week. “I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money. That has been a very enlightening part of this journey.”
And what a journey it’s been. It’s merely happenstance, Omar would have you believe, that she — along with her bestie, Rashida Tlaib, a woman who gets a “calming feeling” when thinking about the Holocaust’s aftermath and believes pro-Zionist Jews exploit “regular Americans” for “their profit,” etc. — keeps tripping into old-school Jew-baiting. What are the odds?
Omar’s been living in the United States since her early teens. She graduated from high school in a major American city. She earned a B.A. from North Dakota State University in political science and international studies. One assumes she’s consumed plenty of American culture over the years. You’re telling me that in all this time, in all her many interactions as an academic “fellow” and a government employee, she never once heard a stereotype about Jews hypnotizing nations or being motivated by money? That’s quite an accomplishment.
Of course, Omar shouldn’t have lost her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee because she believes rootless cosmopolitans are brainwashing the world for the “Benjamins.” She should have lost it for downplaying 9/11 and equating the United States with theocratic terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Taliban. She is neither ideologically nor morally prepared for the job. She was denied a seat because Nancy Pelosi created a new precedent by not only denying Kevin McCarthy his choices for the Jan. 6 committee, effectively creating a show trial, but also stripping Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene of their committee appointments over ugly things they said. Republicans should unseat Omar using her standards.
When Democrats introduced a resolution to strip Lauren Boebert of all House committee assignments over a stupid bigoted joke about Omar, the congresswoman told CNN’s Jake Tapper that “we should punish and sanction Boebert by stripping her of her committees, by rebuking her language, by doing everything that we can to send a clear and decisive message to the American public that, if the Republicans are not going to be adults and condone — condemn this, that we are going to do that.”
When Democrats had a chance to be adults and “send a clear and decisive message” to the American public about Omar’s bigotry, they backed a watered-down resolution teeming with platitudes denouncing the treatment of Alfred Dreyfus and Leo Frank, and condemning anti-Japanese discrimination during World War II, Islamophobia and the America First Committee, but not Omar. And that’s fine. Congressional resolutions are performative nonsense. Every member can tell us what he thinks directly. But other than occasional tepid rebukes from some fellow Jewish Democrats, Omar has been exempted from any meaningful criticism.
Omar’s rhetoric is already the norm in academic and activist leftist circles, so it’s unsurprising. She could read the Hamas Charter into the Congressional Record and her defenders would claim she was merely being “critical” of Israel. No matter what she says, no matter how often she lies, the partisans at The Washington Post will contend criticism of her is “inextricable from her religion.” The bigot is actually the victim.
Of course, Omar has the right to believe anything she likes. Her constituents have the right to keep sending her to Congress. And the House majority has the right to refuse her seats on committees. McCarthy can unilaterally deny Adam Schiff, perhaps the most corrupt person in Congress, and Eric Swalwell, a man duped by a ChiCom honeypot, from serving on the intelligence committee, but a full House vote was needed to deny Omar a seat. Maybe it’s a bad idea to make a habit of blocking partisan committee appointments. But so is unilateral disarmament.
David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Harsanyi is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of five books – the most recent, “Eurotrash: Why America Must Reject the Failed Ideas of a Dying Continent.” His work has appeared in National Review, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reason, New York Post and numerous other publications. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.
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