USA - Antisemitism is getting sneaky

By Pandra Selivanov

In his 1925 autobiography, Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler spewed page after page of hatred for the Jewish people, proclaiming what he would do if he rose to power. When the Holocaust ensued, only the most uninformed or disingenuous could claim not to have realized that Hitler meant to eliminate Jews off the face of the earth. Since the end of World War II, antisemitism has become more indirect, with attacks upon Jews being blamed on other factors than their special status as God’s chosen people.

Antisemitism has become so nuanced that open anti-Semite Ilhan Omar enjoys a seat in Congress as a representative of Minnesota. Omar has been condemned for accusing Israel of atrocities like those committed by the Taliban and fiercely criticized for implying that Jews buy political support with her infamous “All about the Benjamins, baby” tweet.

Since then, Omar has learned subtlety. She partnered with representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill) to introduce bill HR 5665, the Combating International Islamophobia Act, which passed the House of Representatives with every Democrat voting for it and every Republican opposing it. On the face of it, a bill opposing hatred of Muslims does not seem to be a problem, least of all for Jews. A closer look shows a number of problems with bill HR 5665.

The bill is unnecessary, as the state department already has offices to address issues of religious freedom and religious persecution. More importantly, Islamophobia is such a vague term that it has been used to quash legitimate criticism of Islamic extremism. Nor is Islamophobia unique, in that other religions besides Islam are subjected to criticism and their adherents suffer persecution.

Finally, Islamophobia is not to be compared with antisemitism which is not only a unique problem but a persistent problem throughout the history of the world. As Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said, “Putting Islamophobia in the same category as antisemitism dramatically understates [and] even trivializes the historic and pervasive nature that makes antisemitism such a difficult problem to overcome. Such a dangerous false equivalence might be used by extremists to justify further antisemitic activity.”

A preview of how HR 5665 might play out can be seen in the treatment of Representative Scott Perry (R-Pa), who was accused of being Islamophobic for criticizing Ilhan Omar. Perry represents the largest group of Ahmadiyya Muslims in the United States, a Muslim sect that is the most persecuted by other Muslims around the world. He is affiliated with ACT for America, an organization that has honored such anti-Sharia activists as Ayan Hirsi Ali and Mariam Ibrahim. Scott is not Islamophobic. He is pro-American and pro-human rights, particularly for women.

Perry opposes Ilhan Omar because she interprets any criticism of Islamic extremism as Islamophobia. During the discussion of HR 5665, Scott reminded the committee that Omar considers 9/11 a day when “some people did something,” and that she was affiliated with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which the FBI has named as an unindicted co-conspirator in terrorist cases linked to Hamas. Although Perry’s remarks referred to a direct quote from Omar and a public review of the FBI regarding CAIR, his remarks were considered out of order and stricken from the record.

HR 5665, if passed, would set up an ominous situation in which any criticism of actions by Islamic extremists could be labeled Islamophobia. Any support of Israel in its fight to maintain its sovereignty against Islamic extremists could be labeled Islamophobia, and that support could be shut down in the name of protecting Islam. Such a stance could easily backfire and stoke rising antisemitism.

The world cannot afford antisemitism. When a society becomes violent and totalitarian, Jews are the first ones to suffer. Like the canary in the coal mine, Jews are an indicator of a healthy society, where everyone is left in peace and no one is persecuted for their beliefs.

Pandra Selivanov is the author of The Pardon, a story about forgiveness based on the thief on the cross in the Bible.

Source: American thinker

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