By Eve Mykytyn
The US House of Representatives just passed a resolution that declared, “whether from the political right, center, or left, bigotry, discrimination, oppression, racism, and imputations of dual loyalty threaten American democracy and have no place in American political discourse.” The key words in this resolution are “dual loyalty” which make clear that this otherwise banal condemnation of racism was made in direct response to Representative Ilhan Omar’s controversial statement: "I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says that it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country."
Apparently, the House resolution was a disappointment to some. The New York Times reports that this ‘all-inclusive’ approach was criticized for not “solely condemn[ing] anti-Semitism.” Representative Ted Deutch asked “Why are we unable to singularly condemn anti-Semitism? Why can’t we call it anti-Semitism and show we’ve learned the lessons of history?”
It is bizarre that Mr. Deutch seemingly objects to condemning racism per se. Would Mr. Deutch prefer that the House pass separate resolutions condemning prejudice against each of the ever growing list of identity groups? The House would be so busy debating these resolutions that they would accomplish nothing else, although admittedly, that might be a positive outcome.
Omar has not retracted her statements. In response to criticism from representative Nita Lowy, Omar tweeted, “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”
Omar’s point has been substantiated by the reaction it has provoked. Omar claimed that accusations of anti-Semitism tend to be used to silence critics of Israel. In response, she was called a “Jew hater.”
Representative Juan Vargas tweeted, “It is disturbing that Rep. Omar continues to perpetuate hurtful anti-Semitic stereotypes that misrepresent our Jewish community. Additionally, questioning support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is unacceptable.”
Omar is condemned for criticizing dual loyalty by those who insist upon loyalty to Israel. As journalist Jordan Weisman noted, “If Israel’s most devoted U.S. backers are really so concerned over dual loyalty smears, maybe they should think more carefully about how they’re encouraging them. “