Consider this scenario: A legislator from the Midwest targets Israel with a passion and vitriol that smacks of anti-Semitism. The legislator alleges that Israel’s supporters in Washington are bought off with Jewish money and that they have too much influence over our politics. When many Americans express their outrage at such comments, the legislator invokes the right to free speech and insists that the sentiments expressed were all for the just cause of getting American policy on a more reasonable and moral path.
This has been the dynamic surrounding Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar’s disturbing comments about Israel and America’s relationship with the Jewish state. But Omar’s false accusations and the outrage they’ve generated are not without precedent. She is not the first U.S. representative to give public voice to vicious anti-Israel (and anti-American) bigotry and claim the mantle of righteousness. Before Omar, there was the Republican congressman Paul Findley, who died August 9 at the age of 98.
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