The Democratic Inquisition has come after Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar is the first Somali American to win a seat in the US Congress. (photo: Anadolu)
But strong popular resistance is foiling attempts to burn her at the political stake.

By Richard Silverstein | Al Jazeera | Mar 7, 2019

For those who need a primer in anti-Semitism, let’s talk about what it is and isn’t. It is the hatred of Jews for being Jews. It should not be confused with Israel. There is nothing wrong with criticizing Israel or advocating for an Israel that is a democracy offering equal rights to all citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish.

In the late 15th century, as Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I pushed to conquer territories in the Iberian Peninsula under Muslim rule, they launched a religious tribunal which came to be known as the Spanish Inquisition.

One of its main tasks was to discover “false converts” to Christianity among the Jews and Muslims of Andalusia. The Inquisition used torture generously to extract forced confessions of “sin” from people suspected of observing Jewish and Muslim rituals or traditions in the privacy of their homes and subsequently punished them in public in what was known as auto-da-fe.

In this modern age, it would be nice (but naive) to think that we have put behind these times. Apparently, these medieval practices are still in use in the US Congress.

The new Inquisition comes after a watershed 2018 Congressional election swept into office a new progressive class of American politicians. Among its ranks are three remarkable women, Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who challenged the system, incumbents, and the Democratic machine to win landslide victories on truly progressive platforms.

Their Middle East agenda was particularly forthright, and therefore shocking: They opposed US aid to Israel and vehemently criticized its government. Tlaib and Omar have even openly supported the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Anyone familiar with the Israel lobby in Washington knew that the other shoe was bound to drop. And it didn’t take long.

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