Ilhan Omar Speaking at Worker Protest Against Amazon by Fibonacci Blue [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr
It matters not whether U.S. Representative Ilhan Abdullahi Omar’s (D-MN) expressed anti-Israel comments do or do not reflect her true character, or whether or not her apologies for them are sincere. The fact that Omar supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement reveals her true intentions and sentiments, for BDS at its very core is antisemitic.
BDS masquerades as a national liberation movement, but its real agenda is truly sinister. BDS seeks to isolate and demonize Israel to the world, and to delegitimize Israel's very right to exist as a Jewish state to the point that Israel would be forced to make suicidal concessions. This would lead to its demise and dismantling as the only Jewish state, bringing to full realization the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) 1974 Phased Plan of "liberating" all of "Palestine."
The BDS movement is founded on the lie that Israel is an apartheid state whose policies are created to victimize and oppress the Palestinian Arabs. In fact, Israel is continually forced to take defensive actions to protect Israeli citizens, Jew and Arab alike, from Palestinian Arab terrorists and other Muslim Arab forces whose objectives are Israel's destruction.
BDS promotes the fabrication that Israel is a colonial invading regime, which brutalizes Palestinian Arabs in order to stay in control of land illegitimately acquired. This whole scenario is false, and it is as false as the narrative that so many today have come to “believe” is the true starting point for the Arab conflict with Israel — that there was an Arab state in pre-Mandatory Palestine, that Palestine has an inherently Arab history, and that Israel was illegitimately established as a Jewish state in its place.
The success and effectiveness of the BDS movement is dependent upon supporters who, at best, are ignorant of the history and facts of the Arab conflict with Israel, and who, at worst, are all too eager to jump on the anti-Jew/anti-Israel bandwagon that been cruising the world for over 2,000 years.
Representative Omar’s true colors stand out loud and clear when, in her single-mindedness to target and blame Israel, she fails to call out the real culprits who perpetuate the oppression of the Palestinian Arabs — the Palestinian Authority (PA)/PLO and Hamas, the so-called “Palestinian leadership.”
Who is responsible for Arab lives and living conditions in Gaza and Judea and Samaria — “the disputed territories” — with all the billions given to them from the West? Hamas and the PA. The people’s well-being is sacrificed and the billions squandered and stolen in order to wage a ridiculous war against the “dhimmi” Jews, and to stuff the pockets of Yasser Arafat and now Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies.
And let us not forget to include the brutality perpetrated by the Arab countries in which Palestinian Arabs have restricted rights. This is true in Jordan, where around 50% or more of the population identifies as “Palestinian” — of course, it was Jordan that was supposed to have been, and in all reality is, the Arab state in Palestine. It is also the case in Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, and all the other Arab countries in the Middle East that refuse to allow Palestinian Arabs permanent citizenship and full rights, as a tool against the Jewish state.
There is one country in the Middle East whose Arab citizens live in a democracy — and that is Israel. How many of them really want to live under the rule of corrupt Arab dictators?
The majority of people who have a negative opinion of Israel are ignorant of what the conflict is and who is responsible; who initiated every war; who perpetuates the conflict; who repeatedly rejects offers of peace and an Arab state in the very cradle of Jewish civilization because it would mean having to accept the Jewish state; who supports and promotes terrorism; who teaches their children to hate and kill Jews; who pays the families of murderers of Jews lifetime salaries; who teaches and preaches genocide — and on and on and on. There is one obvious answer.
Yet willful ignorance abounds. Ask yourself why — with noted exceptions — the whole world is obsessed with the one tiny sliver of a Jewish state that one can hardly see on a map, but is home to six million Jews surrounded by a massive Arab landmass with a population of over 400 million? Why is so much attention paid to one small group of Arabs who have had so many opportunities to end the conflict and get on with their lives, when there are so many authentic horrific tragedies happening all over the world that largely go ignored? And the biggest question of all: Why is it that the world only cares about the Palestinian Arabs in cases when Israel is the target for blame?
Where was the outrage when the Assad regime was slaughtering thousands of Palestinian Arabs in Syria, or when they were being expelled from Kuwait in the 90’s, or when they are denied to own property in Lebanon, or when their citizenship is being stripped in Jordan, or when they are thrown off buildings in Gaza by Hamas, or when they disappear or are murdered by the PA in Ramallah? The answer is obvious: If Israel cannot be blamed, who cares?
Israel is now the big Jew in the world. We know from 2,000 years of undeniable history that the world has a proclivity to single out, despise, isolate, libel, demonize, blame, and ultimately eliminate Jews. That is antisemitism. And that is exactly what “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” means.
“Palestine” — for close to 2,000 years it was the name used by much of the world for what was the original Jewish homeland, the place where Jewish civilization began over 3,000 years ago, the place of the Jews. Only since the 60’s, when Arafat realized Israel could not be beaten militarily by the Arab armies of the Middle East, did he turn his mission demanding Arabs “reach the sea and hoist the flag of Palestine over Tel Aviv" into a national liberation movement and gave the name “Palestine” a new identity. A smooth move to win the hearts and minds of the West. Now it is the “Hate, Erase, and Replace” campaign against the Jews who have returned to live again under Jewish sovereignty in their ancient Jewish homeland.
Lies and fabrications matter, and when tolerated and promoted, they are the building blocks of antisemitism. Again, it is Jewish lives and survival that are at stake, as history is repeating itself. Let us have the courage and resolve to stand up and declare that all Jews have the right to live in dignity and safety, and let us make this right our priority. Jews have a right to exist. There is one safe haven for the world’s 15 million Jews, and that place is Israel. Am Yisrael Chai — the People Israel lives!
Lisa Shepard is a native Benton County Oregonian, kvelling Mom and Nana, proud American Jew, and staunch Zionist.