Ilhan Omar has become the target of a dangerous hate campaign

I wrote this essay for The Guardian regarding the recent attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar.

Here’s a question for you. Which American politician publicly referred to the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks as “those folks who committed this act,” seemingly downplaying its horrors? Was it Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar? No. Try George W Bush.

Here’s another one. Which American politician publicly called Benjamin Netanyahu “your prime minister” while addressing a crowd of Jewish American supporters. Since the statement assumes Jewish Americans carry a dual loyalty to both Israel and the United States, you might assume it was Ilhan Omar, based on all we’ve been told about her. In fact, it was Donald Trump.

Or how about this. Who said that “the Stephen Miller approach to immigration has no viability”, adding that “Mr Miller is well known…for having views that are outside the mainstream,” suggesting Miller is in reality a political extremist who doesn’t belong in government? Was it Ilhan Omar? Wrong again. It was the Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

Over and over again, Ilhan Omar’s detractors misrepresent her words and intentions, accusing her of saying things she didn’t say or condemning her for things that have been said before, even by Republicans themselves.

But the attacks continue. That’s why you could be forgiven for thinking that Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress, has said these – or even much worse – things. By now, she is accused so often of various speech and thought crimes that she almost seems like a figure in the Two Minutes Hate, the daily ritual used to whip party members into a frenzy in George Orwell’s novel 1984. In Orwell’s dystopia, the enemy of the people was the very Jewish-sounding Emmanuel Goldstein. If you believe some pundits, today’s enemy of the people is the very Muslim-looking Ilhan Omar.

Read the rest here.

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