A conservative political action group has debuted a series of new ads attacking Democratic candidates for tolerating what it describes as Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) “anti-Semitic slurs.”
The attack ads were released by the American Action Network, a group founded by President Richard Nixon’s so-called “Jew counter,” the late Fred Malek.
The series of ads specifically attack lawmakers including Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Haley Stevens (D-MI), and Dean Phillips (D-MN), demanding they call for Omar to be removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee. Except for Stevens, the other three all serve on the committee.
“It’s time to stand up to hate,” the ad says.
The ads refer to Omar’s “latest comments,” which were in fact from five months ago. At the time, Omar publicly objected to “the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” referring to pro-Israel lobbying by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
“Why is it okay for me to talk about the influence of the NRA (National Rifle Association), of fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policies?” she said.
Omar was accused of reinforcing an anti-Semitic trope that Jews harbor “dual loyalty” to both the United States and Israel. When criticized, however, she insisted that opposing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the occupation of Palestine “is not the same as being anti-Semitic.”
Omar later apologized for the remarks.
Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that! https://t.co/gglAS4FVJW
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 3, 2019
President Donald Trump himself came under fire just last week, after he used a similar claim to criticize Democrats. Speaking with reporters, the president suggested “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat” are showing “a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Asked about the comment the following day, Trump made clear that he meant that such an individual would be “very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people.”
The Republican-aligned American Action Network did not put out any ads criticizing the president’s remarks.
The American Action Network was founded in 2009 by Malek, who died earlier this year.
Malek was responsible for carrying out one of the last state-sanctioned acts of anti-Semitism. In 1971, Nixon, who believed that Democratic Jews working in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) were trying to rig unemployment reports in a way that politically hurt him, tasked Malek with rooting out “important Jewish officials.” Four such officials were demoted following that witch hunt.
Though Malek claimed he had nothing to do with the subsequent demotions, memos later showed that he was specifically responsible for them.
The American Action Network ads released this month represent the latest attempt to weaponize claims of anti-Semitism against one of the only two Muslim women in Congress. This week, the Alabama Republican Party approved a resolution calling on Omar to be expelled from Congress, describing her rhetoric as running “counter to American values and patriotism.”
Omar was not impressed, noting the state party’s past support for “accused child molester” Roy Moore in his failed 2017 Senate bid.
Sorry, @ALGOPHQ, but this is a representative democracy.
I was elected with 78% of the vote by the people of Minnesota's 5th District, not the Alabama Republican Party.
If you want to clean up politics, maybe don’t nominate an accused child molester as your Senate candidate? https://t.co/r9NvsZKRUw
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) August 27, 2019
Several years ago, the American Action Network also put out ads attacking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which portrayed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as a “Commie dictator.”