Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar apparently believes she is voicing an opinion that is shared by many who do not have the courage to articulate her feeling on Israel and Jews. The newly elected representative is part of the new left-wing extreme segment of the Democratic Party.
The Omar pronouncements on Israel and U.S.–Israel policy do not, however, happen in a vacuum. Though she may be a novice, the passiveness of the party leadership sent her a signal that her antisemitic positions are OK and would be tolerated by the new Democrats.
So is Rep. Omar at fault? Should she be criticized and denounced? Of course. But we should also be pointing in the direction of Democratic leadership, with special mention of our New York senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Senator Gillibrand, who is dreaming about being a serious candidate for president of the United States, refused earlier this year to vote in favor of legislation that outlaws complicity with any organized boycott of Israel.
Gillibrand is not only repositioning to the extreme left but is also doing a great deal of damage in the process. At the time of the Senate vote on the legislation on BDS, Gillibrand said she could not support the law because she felt that boycotts are a First Amendment free-speech issue. So, in another manner of speaking, Congresswoman Omar was not doing anything other than exercising her constitutional right to free speech by saying clearly that AIPAC was paying members of Congress to support Israel. Senator Gillibrand, Senator Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi do not want to be seen as inhibiting anyone’s freedom, least of all a new member of the new radical fringe of the party.
The reality is that since her election there were more than a few signals sent in the left’s direction that made it fairly clear that coming after Israel and denigrating Jews was not that bad and that Democratic leadership would look the other way as the left constituency was pulled toward the party and voting for whoever their candidate will be in 2020.
The movement in this destructive direction regarding Israel can be traced back to at least 2012 and the booing at the Democratic National Convention when the plank of the Democratic platform that called for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was roundly jeered at by the overwhelming number of convention delegates. After this distasteful display, the convention chair announced that the plank received a favorable vote and was included in the platform, even though it was obvious that the opposite had taken place.
Then in the aftermath of the Trump election in 2016, there was the Women’s March, which openly and even proudly associated itself with avowed antisemites like Louis Farrakhan and Linda Sarsour. Again, the leaders of the march were condemned from various directions but insisted that this was a matter of free speech and expression and that inhibiting these movements was a way of denying these groups their constitutional rights.
This week, the country is dealing with a question of moral character on the matter of Democratic leaders in Virginia who were pictured in blackface more than 30 years ago. The call for those officials to resign from office was quick, far, and wide. The Democratic Party’s reaction to the antisemitic comments of Rep. Omar and others, like Ms. Sarsour in the past, have been slow and deliberate as they gauged how their public would react.
To add additional insult to all this, Congresswoman Omar was appointed by Speaker Pelosi to sit on the House Foreign Relations Committee. If this wasn’t serious, it would be comical. As a matter of priority, Rep. Omar should be removed from the committee until such time that she demonstrates that she can act responsibly and intelligently and is able to check her personal prejudices at the door.
Conversations About Vaccinations
A series of articles in the 5TJT a few weeks ago on the subject of our children’s vaccinations has spurred an ongoing debate on the matter. We have learned this week that here in the Five Towns there have been a number of unofficial meetings on the issue. The thrust of these meetings with communal leaders and concerned parents was about whether it is right and proper for these matters to be discussed in open forums.
The origin of these meetings was the position of medical professionals’ absolute refusal to entertain the possibility that parents be given a right to choose to vaccinate or not. A story we did here after a conversation with J.B. Handley, an extreme critic of unquestioned vaccinations, brought to the fore a number of doctors in this and neighboring communities who voiced their objections to the 5TJT giving critics of vaccines an outlet and voice that they consider illegitimate.
In fact, Mr. Handley, the author of How To End The Autism Epidemic, attributes the dramatic national uptick in autism cases to the increasing number of vaccines given unquestioningly to young children from birth through the first five years of their lives.
No one is suggesting that vaccines are not valuable and are important to our overall society. Even Mr. Handley is not calling for a cessation of vaccinations for children. In essence, what he is saying in his book is that parents should be given the option to look at the big picture, perhaps even family history, and the chance to decide whether their child should be vaccinated.
The polio vaccine in the 1950s almost wiped out the scourge of the disease entirely here in the U.S. and elsewhere. Other vaccines like the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), along with the vaccine for chicken pox, have drastically reduced those diseases.
But the critics and questioners of vaccines are concerned about the flip side of the process and the chronic illnesses in children that might be a side effect of some of these combinations of injections.
But this essay is not about whether or not those theories have any basis in scientific fact. It is about whether a community can civilly and intelligently discuss these matters and voice concerns and have them addressed by doctors and other medical professionals without being shut down and told they have no right to question medical decisions.
The pharmaceutical lobby is very strong, and the drug companies do derive many billions of dollars in income from the manufacture of vaccines. They are so powerful that some involved in these matters say that the drug lobby is seeking to have legislation passed in Congress that would make it law that you cannot renew your passport or driver’s license without having been vaccinated and having those vaccines boosted in your system.
The critics say that vaccines cause autism, Crohn’s, learning disabilities, and even infertility. The doctors who do not want to talk about these matters, and especially not in public, say there is no good or solid evidence to prove any of these claims.
We are far away from being able to draw any definitive conclusions, but hopefully, the very least we can agree on is that we can talk about these issues openly, honestly, and publicly.