Facebook is getting out of line, and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mogadishu) is enraged. Instead of acting the way it usually does, dutifully carrying water for the far Left, Facebook has had the temerity to allow the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to run an ad criticizing Omar herself. After a public career of virtually unanimous adulation from the media and fawning from her colleagues in Congress, even in the face of her repeated anti-Semitic statements, it must be jarring indeed for the winsome Congresswoman actually to face some negative feedback.
Rejecting Omar’s demands (so far) that the ad be taken down, Facebook is allowing AIPAC to run an ad reading, “When Israel Targets Hamas Rep. Omar calls it an ‘act of terrorism.’” This outrages the soft-spoken Omar because what she actually wrote was “Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism.”
Omar and her henchmen contend that this is a misrepresentation of her position that is not only false, but potentially lethal. Isi Baehr-Breen, her deputy communications director (where was her principal communications director? Down at the border with Kamala Harris?), fumed: “It’s dangerous, plain and simple,” and claimed that the AIPAC ad constituted “anti-Muslim hate speech.”
Baehr-Breen added: “It’s par for the course for AIPAC to demonize electeds [sic] who stand up for Palestinian rights and an end to the occupation. What’s more surprising is their attempts to link Congresswoman Omar herself to Hamas terror attacks in their own advertising—ads that only target her, a Black, Muslim woman, in this way. It’s dangerous, plain and simple. It is also dishonest since Rep. Omar has been one of the few Members of Congress to condemn war crimes committed by both Netanyahu and Hamas while calling on the United States to actually take steps to end both the current outbreak of violence and the broader occupation.”
It’s true, sort of. Omar issued a statement Monday condemning “far right ethnonationalist Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu,” claiming that he is “now responsible for at least 1,505 casualties in Gaza, including 200 deaths, 59 of them children. He has leveled entire residential buildings, targeting journalists and civilians alike in direct violation of international law.” The statement added: “At least 10 Israelis, including 2 children, have also been killed by indiscriminate Hamas rocket attacks. To be clear, this is also a war crime.”
Notice that Omar’s office could find no pejorative adjectives to heap on Hamas to match those it found for Netanyahu. Notice also that while it condemned Hamas’ “indiscriminate…rocket attacks,” it said nothing about Hamas’ longstanding practice of launching attacks from civilian areas so as to draw retaliatory fire that would harm civilians and be usable for propaganda purposes. This launching of attacks from civilian areas has been abundantly documented, even by the unflaggingly anti-Israel United Nations. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tweeted Thursday: “It’s not easy fighting a terrorist organization that embeds its military infrastructure in civilian areas. We use the latest military technology to precisely strike Hamas targets, while minimizing damage to the surrounding areas.”
That’s really what is at issue in the AIPAC ad. Omar is enraged because AIPAC said she called Israel targeting Hamas “an act of terrorism,” when she really said that Israel targeting civilians in Gaza was the “act of terrorism.” But while Ilhan Omar may be many things, she is not stupid. She must know, or should know, that Hamas intentionally puts civilians in harm’s way in order to use Israel’s response to their attacks as evidence of Israeli “atrocities.” One particularly infamous example of this came during a recent conversation between an IDF official and a Palestinian in Gaza. “Listen, we are going to bomb the building,” said the IDF official, intending to give the Palestinians time to evacuate. “You want to bomb?” the Palestinian answered derisively, “Bomb whatever you want.” The IDF official persisted: “No, brother, we need to do everything we can so you don’t die.”
Then the conversation turned chilling:
Palestinian: We want to die.
IDF: But you have a responsibility for children’s lives.
Palestinian: If the children need to die, then they’ll die.
IDF: God forbid! God forbid! What, do you want to die?
Palestinian: This is how we reveal your cruelty.
The eloquent Ilhan Omar herself couldn’t have said it better. If children were killed in that IDF strike, there is no doubt whatsoever that Omar would have added their number to her tally of the “far right ethnonationalist” Netanyahu’s crimes, without any public notice of the Palestinian refusal to move the children to safety. So when AIPAC accuses her of objecting to Israeli strikes on Hamas when she objected to Israeli strikes on civilians, she must know that given Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields, there isn’t any meaningful distinction between the two. The AIPAC ad is correct, which is likely one principal reason why it drives Omar crazy: it exposes her sanctimonious hypocrisy and support for jihad.
But Omar claims that AIPAC’s ad will expose her to “harassment and death threats.” Of course. As always, the Left sees non-violent speech that dissents from its agenda as tantamount to violence, while turning a blind eye to actual violence by its friends and allies. The goal, as ever, is to compel Facebook and the other social media giants to block the dissenting speech as “incitement,” so that Omar and her peers can reign serenely, above the reach of the negative remarks of the great unwashed who still see the world for what it is rather than what the Left demands it to be. Facebook is not likely to want to bear Omar’s wrath for long, so expect the AIPAC ad to disappear soon. In the meantime, enjoy a rare sight in the public discourse today: the truth being told.