Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Ilhan Omar, lobbying, and hatred

July 14, 2019 • 12:50 pm

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, like Ilhan Omar, is from Somalia.  Hirsi Ali underwent extensive Islamist brainwashing to make her hate Jews, which she describes in the article below from the Wall Street Journal. (It’s paywalled, but judicious inquiry might yield a copy.)

Hirsi Ali’s description of the Jew-hatred endemic in Islam, and how it’s drilled into you at every turn, is scary.  It happens at home, it happens in the mosques, it happens in the madrassas, and, since in countries like Somalia, Islam is both a personal faith and a public ideology, you can’t avoid it.

Say what you will about Judaism, the inculcated hatred of Muslims and Islam is not endemic in that faith. Sure, you can probably find instances of rabbis teaching others to despise Islam, but you’d be hard pressed to make the case that formal education in hatred of the “other” is equally pervasive in both Judaism and Islam.

Hirsi Ali overcame her hatred of Jews, but pulls no punches about claiming that her fellow Somali Ilhan Omar is still afflicted with it—as do I. Dislike of Israel and Jews is characteristic of “progressive” Democrats, and was inevitable the moment that Palestinians were deemed to be “persons of color”. Intersectionality theory is, after all, a hallmark of Leftist “progressives.”

One thing that got Omar accused of anti-Semitism was this pair of tweets insinuating that American politicians’ defense of Israel was the result of financial contributions from pro-Israel lobbying organizations (“Benjamins” are $100 bills, which bear the image of Benjamin Franklin):

. . . and AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee:

Hirsi Ali, to her credit, is less interested in demonizing Omar than in correcting the record about lobbying and laying bare the brainwashing behind Islamic anti-Semitism. Here is here aim:

Some of the members of my 2006 AJC [American Jewish Committee] audience have asked me to explain and respond to Ms. Omar’s comments, including her equivocal apologies. Their main question is whether it is possible for Ms. Omar to unlearn her evident hatred of Jews—and if so, how to help.

In my experience it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to unlearn hate without coming to terms with how you learned to hate. Most Americans are familiar with the classic Western flavors of anti-Semitism: the Christian, European, white-supremacist and Communist types. But little attention has been paid to the special case of Muslim anti-Semitism. That is a pity because today it is anti-Semitism’s most zealous, most potent and most underestimated form.

She then tells us how she learned to hate Jews.

Here are some monetary figures from her article:

Spreading anti-Semitism through all these channels is no trivial matter—and this brings us to the question of resources. “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Ms. Omar tweeted in February, implying that American politicians support Israel only because of Jewish financial contributions. The irony is that the resources available to propagate Islamist ideologies, with their attendant anti-Semitism, vastly exceed what pro-Israel groups spend in the U.S. Since the early 1970s the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has spent vast sums to spread Wahhabi Islam abroad. Much of this funding is opaque, but estimates of the cumulative sum run as high as $100 billion.

Thousands of schools in Pakistan, funded with Saudi money, “teach a version of Islam that leads [to] anti-Western militancy,” according to Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy—and, one might add, to an anti-Semitic militancy.

In recent years the Saudi leadership has tried to turn away from supporting this type of religious radicalism. But increasingly Qatar seems to be taking over the Saudi role. In the U.S. alone, the Qatar Foundation has given $30.6 million over the past eight years to public schools, ostensibly for teaching Arabic and promoting cultural exchange.

. . .The allegation that Jewish or Zionist money controls Congress is nonsensical. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that the Israeli government has spent $34 million on lobbying in Washington since 2017. The Saudis and Qataris spent a combined $51 million during the same period. If we include foreign nongovernmental organizations, the pro-Israel lobbying figure rises to $63 million—less than the $68 million spent lobbying for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In 2018 domestic American pro-Israeli lobbying—including but not limited to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac—totaled $5.1 million. No comparable figures are available for domestic pro-Islamist lobbying efforts. But as journalist Armin Rosen observes, Aipac’s 2018 total, at $3.5 million, was less than either the American Association of Airport Executives or the Association of American Railroads spent on lobbying. Aipac’s influence has more to do with the power of its arguments than the size of its wallet.

And Hirsi Ali’s diagnosis, which I think is accurate:

The problem of Muslim anti-Semitism is much bigger than Ilhan Omar. Condemning her, expelling her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, or defeating her in 2020 won’t make the problem go away.

Islamists have understood well how to couple Muslim anti-Semitism with the American left’s vague notion of “social justice.” They have succeeded in couching their agenda in the progressive framework of the oppressed versus the oppressor. Identity politics and victimhood culture also provide Islamists with the vocabulary to deflect their critics with accusations of “Islamophobia,” “white privilege” and “insensitivity.” A perfect illustration was the way Ms. Omar and her allies were able to turn a House resolution condemning her anti-Semitism into a garbled “intersectional” rant in which Muslims emerged as the most vulnerable minority in the league table of victimhood.

This is why, if you scratch an Islamic politician, you often hear victimhood narratives, as with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that Nancy Pelosi was attacking the four House Justice Democrats because they were young women of color. That ticks three boxes at once.

Hirsi Ali’s cure is “to check the advance of the mass movement that is Muslim anti-Semitism.” Good luck with that: I see little hope on that front. But the “reform” message is central to Hirsi Ali’s latest book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.  By coupling itself to a pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist narrative, the Left is not only tacitly embracing anti-Semitism in both the U.S. and U.K., but helping Trump, who bills himself as a defender of Israel.

Hirsi Ali is right about the Muslim reformation, but all her calls have gotten her—and she is not a “strident” person—is expulsion from the Left and death threats from Muslims, to the extent that she needs bodyguards. This is shameful. We should be embracing her.


h/t: cesar

72 thoughts on “Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Ilhan Omar, lobbying, and hatred

  1. I would be very careful of attacking or going after any of the four young women in Congress who seem to be causing all this print. Donald Trump, just today, told all four of these women to go back where they came from if they did not like it here. Have we heard that one before?

    Three of the four women in congress he is speaking to were born right here in the U.S. Also at this time Israel has a guy trying to hold office that is probably corrupt and needs to go. Thomas Friedman, said today on CNN that re-electing the current leader in Israel will turn the place into a banana republic.

    1. I thought Trump’s comment was reprehensible. They’re AMERICANS, for crying out loud. That said, I’m not going to give them a pass just because they’re young women of color. And I’m not going to defend Netanyahu.

      1. >That said, I’m not going to give them a pass just because they’re young women of color.

        Right on. We’re supposed to treat them with kid gloves just because they’re not white? Or, better yet, because someone we don’t like doesn’t like them? That’s so lazy, and reactionary.

        As a side note, I was able to read the whole article and was confused why people couldn’t access it as I don’t subscribe to WSJ; turns out you can read the whole thing if you click on the link Ayaan gave in her facebook post (from July 13)

    2. “Go back to where you came from” — says a man, two of the whose three wives and whose own mother are/were all immigrants to these shores, to three congresswomen born in the USA. A mountain of self-absorption, not a pebble of self-awareness.

    3. Trump is trying to capitalize on the dispute between Pelosi and the four women. He thinks siding with Pelosi will deepen the divisions, but I suspect it will have the opposite effect.

    4. It is how, according to Friedman, Israel may be turned into a banana republic that is disturbing.

  2. I don’t buy that Omar’s comment “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” was anti-Semitic. When the anti-Semitic trope concerning Jews and money was explained to her she deleted the tweet and apologized.

    Conflating anti-Israeli-policy with anti-Semitism is counterproductive and deceptive.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Omar saying anything anti-Semitic (of course: correct me if I’m wrong here).

    1. “Israel hypnotized the world”, for example. Unless you think this was legitimate “anti-Israeli policy”.

      Of course, her accusation of American Jews having “dual loyalty” can also (with some mental gymnastic) be taken for anti-Israeli policy.

      1. “Israel hypnotized the world” was a stupid thing to say, and Omar deserves criticism for saying it, but I don’t consider anti-Israel to be anti-Semitic.

        1. So, demonizing the Jewish State and using the same tropes which were used to demonize Jews before re-birth of the Jewish State is not antisemitic?

          “Antisemitism is the irrational hatred of Jews, where Jews are falsy accused of being worse that other people.

          Anti-Zionism is the irrational hatred of Jewish state, where Jewish state is falsely accused of being worse than other states”.

          1. So, demonizing the Jewish State and using the same tropes which were used to demonize Jews before re-birth of the Jewish State is not antisemitic?

            Correct. I’m not advocating demonizing Israel, but it’s not anti-Semitic.

            1. But can we agree that’s it’s really weird when people like Omar are constantly fixated on Israel, the only Jewish nation on Earth, when Saudi Arabia has killed several hundred thousand people in Yemen since 2015 (and displaced several million more), Turkey has been killing and trying to take land from the Kurds for who knows how long, everything that goes on in Syria…I mean, this is just in the Middle East, and all of this and more that goes on there kills, displaces, and spreads far more misery than Israel manages in far longer. Don’t you find it strange when people like her fixate on one nation, that nation’s army is the leading developer of technology made to reduce civilian casualties in war as much as possible, and they kill less people than most basically every other country in their own region, not to mention most of the world? That’s not a little weird? Possibly rooted in antisemitism?

              1. But can we agree that’s it’s really weird when people like Omar are constantly fixated on Israel

                How many times has she brought up Israel? 4 times? 5? Is it more often than most legislators?

                It doesn’t strike me as weird.

      2. I recall an op-ed piece by Ed Koch, when he was mayor of New York, stating that as an American Jew, his overarching political priority on the federal level was the support of Israel.

          1. It’s disconcerting that any American citizen’s top priority for his country is the well-being of a different country — whether it’s Israel, Palestine or Zambia. Get it now?

            1. Remember that NYC has a very large Jewish population. It’s natural that Koch would be a vigorous supporter of Israel. That’s not to say he was not also an American.

    2. “When the anti-Semitic trope concerning Jews and money was explained to her she deleted the tweet and apologized.”

      Because that’s definitely something she totally didn’t know about. Do you honestly find that plausible?

      1. I’m not a huge fan of Omar’s, but do find it at least plausible that she was at least naive enough not to have been fully aware of how anti-semitic she sounded.

        1. Read this piece again and pay close attention to what Ayaan Hirsi Ali had to say about Muslims and being anti-semitic. She is very knowledgeable about the connection since she was once a muslim.

    3. And, let’s be real here: saying “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” isn’t really apologizing when the rest of your statement is about how you’re not really apologizing and then throwing in a whole bunch of other sentences aimed at minimizing what you said and bringing attention back to what you want to attack. It was what many would call a “non-apology apology” if Trump said something like it.

      1. If Trump ever proffered an apology as specific as Omar’s it would be a vast improvement on any previous attempt he’s made. I would credit it as a sign of maturation, as would most people I think.

          1. Nope. The Trump tu quoque came from BJ, which would have been evident if you’d bothered checking.

            1. BJ was not defending Trump’s bad behavior by pointing to Omar’s. You were defending Omar’s by pointing to Trump’s.

              You committed the tu quoque, not BJ.

              1. I wasn’t defending Omar’s behaviour – again, you made that up. I haven’t mentioned her ‘behaviour’ at all.

                I did however mention her ‘nonapology’, which I pointed out was vastly more of an apology than anything Trump has ever said. It was still a piss-poor apology, but it was at least an apology.

                And no, the accusation of tu quoque still doesn’t make sense, as much as you double down on it.

  3. . . .The allegation that Jewish or Zionist money controls Congress is nonsensical.

    Fair enough. But the allegation (wrong word, actually) that Israel influences American foreign policy far beyond its economic and strategic importance to the US is not so nonsensical.

    1. I think the strong connection between the US and Israel can be easily understood from history and cultural affinities. We are both democracies and share many ideals. The US would not want Israel to be destroyed by it’s hostile neighbors. Benjamins is just a smear.

      1. I didn’t say that Israel doesn’t have a big influence on foreign policy. It does, and for the reason that rickflick just said. Omar said it was because of the money. And her “apology” was hedged and forced.

      2. There is quite a bit more to it than mere history and cultural affinities.

        * Israel is a bastion of democratic ideals in a region dominated by theocracies.

        * Israel is a strategically valuable military partner simply from a geopolitical logistical perspective

        * Israel’s Mossad has the best intelligence on Islamist and Islamic terrorism in the world. They share that information with the Western world, and have helped to quell over 50 terrorist operations

        * Israel has been a loyal strategic partner for the US for more than 50 years.

        * Israel has been of great scientific/strategic value to the US because it participates in many training programs for military and security units. It also has proven to be extremely valuable as a test site for military equipment development, saving American companies billions in R & D costs.

  4. I still don’t understand the excessive hatred Muslims have for Jews. This hatred started long before the founding of Israel. The triune god of the Christians exemplifies the worst kind of shirk in Islam, putting partners next to god. If you die in this state of shirk, even Allah can’t keep you out of Hell. In contrast, Judaism is clearly monotheistic.
    Except for the concept of Hell, Islam was more similar to the Judaism of the time than Christianity. Until Mohammad had a new revelation, Muslims actually prayed towards Jerusalem.
    Anyone understand why this hatred of Jews is so ingrained in Islam? I haven’t found an answer anywhere else.

    1. This is probably a bit simplistic but it’s the best explanation I know:
      Islam has borrowed/stolen much from Judaism and announced that it came as the last and best religion. Muhammed was sure that Jews would embrace him and convert to his perfect religion. They didn’t. As Judaism was the parent religion it was like being rejected by a parent and the hatred came from this rejection. Islam is supposed to supplant all other religions so replacement theology is very strong there. The fact that Judaism didn’t die, that it is a living, practised religion is a threat to the worldview in which this “parent” religion should disappear and Islam should reign supreme.
      After re-birth of Israel the humiliation of being defeated by Jews and envy of Israel’s achievement while Muslim world laggs after in every measure just added to the old hatred.
      Not to mention enormous influence of European/German antisemitism which was disseminated in the Arab world since late 1920. Mein Kampf and Protocols of the Elders of Ziyon are bestsellers in Muslim world since decades.

      1. Thank you for the good explanation.

        “Not to mention enormous influence of European/German antisemitism which was disseminated in the Arab world since late 1920. Mein Kampf and Protocols of the Elders of Ziyon are bestsellers in Muslim world since decades.”

        I may add that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Amin al-Husseini (1921-1948), a grim anti-Semite, was a welcome personal guest of Adolf Hitler after he had to flee from Palestine in 1941.


      2. Malgorzata’s explanation is correct. I’d also like to add some stuff:

        Muhammad initially looked up to Jews and wanted to sell islam to them, hoping they would accept him as god’s prophet and their leader. Jews saw through his con and rejected him. The quran (which is considered to be the literal word of god sent to humanity through Muhammad by the vast majority of muslims, but is of course nothing more than a collection of Muhammad’s ramblings) mentions many times that the disbelievers accused him of telling “ancient tales” etc. He stole a lot from the bible, the torah, the zoroastrians and the polytheists, which they recongnized. He had to accept the Jews’ rejection, eat the humiliation and change the direction of prayer away from Jerusalem and the man… did not deal with rejection well.

        You can read the second surah of the quran (Al-Baqarah – The cow) to see the full extent of the hate Muhammad had for Jews. It’s pretty much an entire chapter dedicated to how treacherous Jews are, and how muslims are not to trust them.

        There are also multiple sahih (authentic) hadiths (sayings of Muhammad) that illustrate the hate he had for Jews:

        ” It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say:
        I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.”

        ” The Messenger of Allah(ﷺ) said, “The Last Hour will not come until the Muslims fight against the Jews, until a Jew will hide himself behind a stone or a tree, and the stone or the tree will say: ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him,’ but Al-Gharqad tree will not say so, for it is the tree of the Jews.”

        And lastly, Muhammad died telling everyone he was poisoned – by a Jewish woman, after his army raided her city and killed her husband. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaynab_bint_Al-Harith

  5. The constant attacks on Ilhan Omar are not mentioned in this article, nor are the repeated, very serious death threats and egregious smears she is pelted with every day on the right.
    And this happens to coincide – today – with Trump telling her to ‘go back where she came from’. Doesn’t this this warrant a mention in the article? Some nod to the foaming lunacy of the right’s attacks on her?

    This was the president of the US telling her effectively to fuck off back to her own country.
    I heard that phrase all the time in the east end of London as a kid, not directed at me obviously – I’m a white guy – but at the Pakistani kids I knew and hung with, or the black kids in Hackney. It’s basically the catchphrase of the BNP, Britain’s ‘Classic Coke’ racist far-right party.

    My position is that I often find what Omar says incredibly stupid and hubristic – but I can’t just separate that from the barrage of abuse she gets from her and my political opponents.
    I don’t think it should be separated – this isn’t a thought experiment, this is the real world, it’s messy and it’s complicated, and sometimes imperfect people need to be both condemned and stood up for simultaneously.
    On WEIT I see nothing but condemnation for her and no condemnation at all, no interest in, the shit she receives on a daily basis or the broader recrudescence of ethno-nationalist hatred on the right. It simply doesn’t seem to come up.

    This is not making excuses for her. This is not saying she’s clever, or admirable, or that she should be the future of the Democrats(if I’m being honest I find her deeply charmless). It is just balance. It is telling the whole story and not simply picking and choosing what to get outraged about.

    More and more WEIT is leaving out large chunks of context when it critiques people like Omar and others on the left.

    1. Sorry, but I didn’t know about Trump’s attacks on the four women until a few hours ago, and, as you see above, I decried them as being reprehensible. If you want condemnation, then I condemn those who threaten these Congresswomen, who tell them to go back to her own country, which is a palpably ridiculous thing to say (this IS their country), and so on. You can find that vitriol on the right wing media.

      My brief, or so I see it, is to try to keep the left on a course to defeat Trump. That’s why I am more critical of the Left than the Right which is, in my view, largely irredeemable, though not completely so. They’re not all a basket of deplorables. But my views on Trump are repeated and well known, as are my views on Republicans in general. In other words, you’re wrong about what I think. You just want me to diss Republicans more. Sorry, I dislike them intensely, but that’s not what interests me. If you want constant criticism of the Right, I suggest you try other sites.

      And I’m not here to write the way you want me to. If you don’t like the “balance” (i.e. every time I have to criticize a Democrat I also have to criticize Trump for criticizing a Democrat), you are free to leave. You will find HuffPost more amenable, I suspect.

      If you wrote about Milo Yiannopoulos, I suspect you wouldn’t mention the death threats he got as a way of achieving balance.

      Again, don’t tell me that I need more “balance” when I’m writing about what Ayaan Hirsi Ali said about Omar. I write what I want, and if you don’t like it you can criticize it, but don’t tell me to write a piece that’s different from the one I wrote.

      1. I have never told you to write a different piece, I know perfectly well not to do that. I have always been scrupulously polite and I don’t think any of my criticisms were unfair or rude. I think they are reasonable. And I know that if you want to kick me out on those(very rare) occasions when I offer some – in my opinion – mild criticism that’s up to you to do.

        I have written about Milo in the past and the death threats he’s gotten, specifically about them. I have spent a very big chunk of my time on this website criticising the illiberal-left in strong terms.

        And if the mention of Milo is meant to imply that he’s some kind of mirror of Omar I think that’s unfair. He’s a demagogue who tweets about killing journalists and talks about feminism being cancer. I don’t consider them on the same level.

        As for second-guessing your mindset – you’re assuming that I think that you’re right-wing or something. I don’t; I’ve visited this site every day for five years. I’m fairly confident about your political alignment as pretty much the same kind of centre-left liberal as I am.

        Either way I’m going to stop posting for tonight, before I get kicked off.

        1. Hang in there, brother; I value reading your comments here, and I’m sure many other regular visitors do too.

          1. This is why I like it here. Everyone’s so ruddy decent.

            Thanks for your kind words. I know I’m treading a line here, but I try and stay polite and reasonable.

            And I appreciate everyone’s kind replies. I’m not sure anyone here knows how much difference a supportive reply makes – it shoos the black dog from my shoulder for a few hours at least.

            1. As someone who says a lot of unpopular things in cyber & meat space, I totally get how a supportive comment goes a long way.

        2. Of course you were telling me to write a different piece: you were asking me to put more balance in pieces like this. I quote:

          On WEIT I see nothing but condemnation for her and no condemnation at all, no interest in, the shit she receives on a daily basis or the broader recrudescence of ethno-nationalist hatred on the right. It simply doesn’t seem to come up.

          . . . More and more WEIT is leaving out large chunks of context when it critiques people like Omar and others on the left.

          If that’s not a call to change how I write pieces about Omar—that I need to add “death threat” context—I don’t know what is.

          I also reject the claim that I am increasingly leaving out large chunks of context, which is again telling me that I need to change what I put in my posts. You may deny that, but what we have here, pure and simple, is criticism of the way I write posts–and a claim that they’re getting worse.

          Finally, you could have asked me what I meant about Milo. I wasn’t comparing him to Omar at all except in one respect: if we don’t like someone, your take is that we should always mention the death threats against them. I don’t think it’s necessary most of the time, and that’s what I meant.

    2. Your remark about Trump telling Omar to return to her own country may be the best thing that ever happened to her. Trump also referred to three other freshmen representatives, all of whom were born in the United States, which apparently he did not know. Omar’s anti-Semitism, which I think was real at one time, if not now, will be forgotten as the Democratic Party unites in condemning Trump. His tweets have the hallmark of a lunatic experiencing cognitive decline. They will do little to further jack up his already frenzied base. But, they will rejuvenate the Democratic Party. So, I say, “thanks Trump, you have done the Democratic Party a great favor. Seek professional help immediately.”


      1. I spend half my time reeling in horror at him, and the other half wishing he was fictional so I could enjoy him properly.

        Yes, he probably helped Omar and the others, but he also gained points with plenty of people for saying what they all want to say when a brown person criticises America. ‘Get back to your own country’ is the reflex retort of racists in every anglophone country on earth. It’s what they say when they want to hurt someone and don’t have the imagination to come up with something original.

        Flake of paint by flake of paint he is chipping away at all the ideals underlying liberal democracy.

        1. “I spend half my time reeling in horror at him, and the other half wishing he was fictional so I could enjoy him properly.”

          Amen. He would be a great joke if he was the president of some banana republic. Like, say, Idi Amin was.

          The only thing that spoils the joke is the damage he can do. He’s steadily turning the US into a (bad) joke. And some bad jokes are deadly.


          1. Idi Amin was no joke if you lived in Uganda. My ex-wife was from Uganda, and the reason her family ended up in America was that her father’s name ended up on Amins’ hit list and they had to flee.

          2. He’s one of the most ridiculous human beings who’s ever existed. If he was a comedy character he would be a work of absurdist genius.

            1. It’s true that he was a ridiculous human being, and ‘if’ he was a comedy character he ‘would’ be a work of absurdist genius, but above all that he was a real life horrorshow.

              1. Then I honestly do not know how it is possible for me to say anything critical about the political emphasis here without it being interpreted as a call to write about different subjects.

                You say it’s okay to criticise, but not to tell you what to write. But I didn’t tell you what to write, and I literally cannot frame my criticisms in any milder a form than I already do.
                It feels like you’re telling me never to touch upon the political emphasis at WEIT, ever, in any way, regardless of politesse or reasonableness. Because if I do say what I think about it then it’s inherently going to be interpreted as a ‘call’ for you to write different articles.

                I appreciate that this is your website, and I don’t pay for this content, and you put up with a lot of horrible, ugly comments. But at the same time I’d feel like a chump if I never mention the occasional frustration that I feel.

                (And I’m not someone who would be “better off at Huffpost”; I’ve never even visited that site before.)

                I hope you can see that I’m sincere. I’m not a hostile troll who’s trying to drag this website through the dirt. I’ve visited WEIT every day for five years. I’ve mailed the occasional article you might be interested in(we share a love of Philomena Cunk). I love it here – it has been a boon to me as someone who suffers from very severe depression to interact with kind, polite, intelligent commenters and read interesting, surprising, perspicuous articles on a daily basis.

                But I still have thoughts that I need to express every now and then, and they’re very occasionally critical. Like I said, if I go too far you’re entitled to expel me, it’s your website. I understand that.

        1. Thanks to both of you. I will endeavour to remain Saul-y, which is harder than it sounds for someone who has no idea who he is.

  6. I’m not sure why Trump supporters are constantly referred to as his base, or “frenzied base” in a comment above, as if they were just some aberrant anomaly. As of two weeks ago, Trump has a 90% job approval rating from Republicans. The Republican party is his base, not some small subset of frenzied wackos. Mainstream Republicans are all-in for Trump. There’s no reason not to acknowledge it.

    1. There are 31 states that have party registration. as of June 2018, the aggregate number of registered Republicans among the citizens of these states is 28%.

      I’m not sure what you’re referring to with “mainstream Republicans,” but if it’s citizens, a base like what I just described is considered very small in politics.

  7. I have some issues with some of your assertions here. I do agree that the current idealization if Islam by **some** people on the left is simplistic, I think this should be put into the context of a President who often demonizes Islam (along with many other groups) as well as some near hysterical demonization, fear mongering and ignorance about Islam by many on the right. Does anyone actually believe that “Sharia” is a real threat to or in the US? I think you also have to put the current demonization of Israel into the context of the steady worsening of the Palestinian situation overall and how Israel has increasingly gobbled up territory and infringed on what little Palestinians do have. Israel is not the worst human rights violator in the region-that is certainly true. But it treats Palestinians as non-humans and US foreign policy fails to recognize Palestinian human rights. I don’t know what Ilhan Omar’s actual thoughts are or are not. However, I don’t think her public statements are anti-semitic. AIPAC has had a large and outsized influence on discourse, though admittedly, not because of “money” into politics per se. AIPAC deserves and needs to criticized and scrutinized so I think she was right to call attention to it. There are a lot worse actual anti-semitic remarks circulating on the right. Add to this you have a President who tells Congresspeople to “go back” to where they came from, or criticisms of AOC for dancing or wearing nice clothes. My larger point is that its really not the identity politics crowd on the left that is the root of the problem, though I have deeply rooted disagreements with them. The problem is right wing, White identity politics stoked by a President that feeds into people’s insecurities, and thus provokes a counter backlash of identity politics among other groups. You make some valid points on these issues, but you seem to lack context and understanding of the larger issues quite often (IMO).

    1. Does anyone actually believe that “Sharia” is a real threat to or in the US?

      Sharia, as a barbaric, cruel, misogynistic, homophobic legal code, poses a threat by its very existence.

      When moslems are a tiny minority (e.g., in the US), they swear they do not desire sharia. When they grow to a sizable minority (e.g., UK, France), they demand separate sharia courts. Once a majority (e.g. Pakistan, where no one will read this comment), they make sharia the law of the land.

      We must never forget that the mission statement of Islam is to take over the world, by force if necessary, and impose a sharia-based theocracy on everyone.


      I think you also have to put the current demonization of Israel into the context of the steady worsening of the Palestinian situation overall and how Israel has increasingly gobbled up territory and infringed on what little Palestinians do have.

      Once Hamas (whose charter espouses the eradication of Israel) took control of Gaza, it essentially seceded from the PA, leaving Fatah in the lurch and the two-state solution in limbo. Since then, Hamas has both engaged in acts of war and sponsored terrorism against Israel’s civilian population. Israel’s restraint in responding is downright angelic.


      Israel … treats Palestinians as non-humans and US foreign policy fails to recognize Palestinian human rights.

      Please provide examples of “non-human” treatment of Palestinian by Israel, and also the specific rights not recognized by the US.

      1. Palestinians have their homes demolished for protesting and resisting occupation. They are subject to collective punishment. Israelis troops respond with disproportionate force against protesters. Israel does not recognize Palestinian rights in occupied territory. In sum, Israel does not abide by international law in occupied territories. Your sweeping characterization of Islam and of all Muslims as extremists is an excellent example of how difficult it is to have a rational discussion of Islam in the US. This is the kind of rhetoric that people on the left are responding to. When I hear this kind of fear mongering and over characterization it makes me reflexively not want to criticize Islam or Muslims at all for fear of feeding and legitimizing this kind of discourse. As it happens, I am actually extremely critical of political Islam. But in the end, which is a greater immediate threat to me: Christian Dominionism or Political Islam. At present, Political Islam has near zero chance of being instituted in the US. On the other hand, Christian Dominionism has quite a bit of actual, practical influence and it’s moral and legislative code would be every bit as restrictive as Sharia. Like any other form of religious code, e.g. keeping Kosher or trying to “live by the Bible”, Sharia can be a personal religious practice and as such is not a danger to me any more than the practice of Hasidim are a threat to me.

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