Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton), one of the leading voices in Congress on human rights and religious freedom issues, says that the recent comments of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) signal a new wave of anti-Semitism that is spreading across the nation.
“Rep. Ilhan Omar’s outrageous tweet that ‘Israel has hypnotized the world may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel’ or her tweet that politicians are being bought by AIPAC to support Israel is not legitimate criticism but a manifestation of the new anti-Semitism,” Smith told the New Jersey Globe.
The 20-term New Jersey Republican offered the most substantive argument yet in what has been a day of politicians from both parties taking aim at Omar.
Smith said that at a hearing he chaired on combating anti-Semitism in 2004, noted human rights leader and former prisoner of conscience Natan Sharansky testified that there was not only a “resurgence of anti-Semitic activity in the democratic world” but a “new anti-Semitism” that is “far more subtle and poses a unique challenge.”
Sharansky said that while “classical anti-Semitism is aimed at the Jewish people or the Jewish religion” the new anti-Semitism is “aimed at the Jewish State”.
Smith said that Sharansky noted that while Israel should not be above criticism, that this new anti-Semitism “can hide behind the veneer of legitimate criticism of Israel.” Sharansky said that employing the 3D test—demonization, double standards and delegitimization—is useful in exposing anti-Semitism.
Last month, Omar was one of 411 House members who voted in support of Smith’s legislation that creates the post of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Only Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) voted against it.