Matthews Declines to Ask New Democrat About Her Disturbing Anti-Israel Views

During yet another national interview, Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar (MN) was not asked on Wednesday’s Hardball about old tweets of hers in which she stated what could be mildly described as a disturbing dislike of Israel.

As a refresher or for those not acquainted with Omar’s past views, she tweeted this in 2012: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” She also stated in another tweet that Israel was an “apartheid” state.

Wednesday's interview came two days after Omar published an op-ed in the Minnesota Star-Tribune that insisted she “know[s] how it feels to be hated because of my religious beliefs” just “[l]ike members of the Jewish community.”

New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz and Powerline contributor Scott Johnson have written about Omar’s hypocrisy, but here’s more from Omar’s Sunday op-ed that sets off alarm bells of irony (click “expand”):

Like members of the Jewish community, I know how it feels to be hated because of my religious beliefs. Almost one in five hate crimes committed last year was motivated by religious bias, with 18.1 percent committed against Muslims — well above the historical averages before President Trump's election.

Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are two sides of the same bigoted coin. But we know that we are stronger when we stand united against bigotry and hate. My grandfather taught me that when you see injustice, you fight back. You do not give in to hate or vengeance. You organize and you help your fellow human.

We cannot let racism and white supremacy threaten our very existence. I am proof that we, as Americans, can embrace our differences. At a time when my status as an immigrant, black, Muslim woman means that the current administration doesn't see me as fully American, not only have the people of Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District embraced me, they have sent me to Washington, D.C.

(....)

As a new representative in Congress, I will not bow down to hate or bigotry. I will not back down in fear. I will stand strong with you, as we fight to protect all Americans, in every community, no matter your religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.

And I call on my fellow Americans to stand with me in that pledge, rejecting hate and embracing one another in order to create a country and a culture of unity and justice.

Omar’s desire for people to live without fear of bias and hatred is admirable and something worth striving for, but it’s always important to ensure that one’s own house is in order first. And the national media haven’t shown an interest in helping her do that.

As for what host Chris Matthews did ask her, he largely stuck to the issue of Nancy Pelosi seeking to obtain the Speaker’s gavel. He lobbed the first of many softballs, asking “what was it like in the democratic caucus today when you renominated Nancy Pelosi.”

He followed up with whether the room had heard from anyone opposed to Pelosi before ending the first portion of questioning (with the interlude consisting of a few moments with former John Boehner aide Michael Steele) with this semi-decent question about accomplishing anything:

How do you get stuff done? You control the House now, a good portion of the Democratic caucus is progressive now with 90 members. How do you get those 90 members to project their power through the Democratic leadership, through the whole house, past the Republican-controlled senate, which is more Republican now and then past the Republican President? How do you get what you just said done, a progressive agenda? 

Matthews eventually came back to her for a final question about immigration reform and thus the segment was over.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on November 28, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
November 28, 2018
7:30 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Pelosi spent the past few weeks making deals and wrangling those in the party, including a large group of freshmen progressive Members to back her for speaker again. For more, I’m joined by one of those incoming Democrats Congresswoman-elect, Ilhan Omar....Congratulations, Congresswoman-elect, for your seat in the U.S. House and now your first request from me is what was it like in the democratic caucus today when you renominated Nancy Pelosi? 

ILHAN OMAR: Thank you so much, Chris, for having me. There was a lot of really exciting energy. There was an overwhelming support for the speaker to get her back her gavel and to lead our — our caucus. 

MATTHEWS: Did you hear from the people who voted against her or voted nothing — they voted present? Did they have anything to say? 

OMAR: No. Actually on the contrary, we heard from folks who were eager, who understood that we got elected to make a decision about the direction of our nation, that it was going to be important for us to build consensus and be a deliberative body to decide who's going to get at us the progressive wins that we need to have going forward so that we could have prosperity for all Americans. 

MATTHEWS: How do you get stuff done? You control the House now, a good portion of the Democratic caucus is progressive now with 90 members. How do you get those 90 members to project their power through the Democratic leadership, through the whole house, past the Republican-controlled senate, which is more Republican now and then past the Republican President? How do you get what you just said done, a progressive agenda? 

OMAR So, as you probably know, Leader Pelosi is a strong progressive and we have full confidence in knowing that she is going to push for the agenda that we all got elected on, making sure that we have health care be affordable and accessible for folks, that we are tackling the issue of student debt, that we're working to make sure that we reform our immigration system, and that we put Americans back to work and fix our infrastructure. Today, we heard from people from all walks of life who represent Americans come to speak on her behalf, folks within the Progressive caucus and with other caucuses who have clear trust in knowing that she is an expert, that she is a thought of leader, a consensus builder, and someone who has the best interest of all of us to make sure that our voices are at the table and ultimately we move an agenda that is inclusive and progressive and one that leads to prosperity for all of us. 

MATTHEWS: Thank you, congresswoman.

(....)

7:34 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Congresswoman, thank you because she said something I completely believe in. Comprehensive immigration reform. Let's stop arguing. Let’s be Americans and put a good, American immigration plan together and put it into law and enforce it, but my question is the Republicans when they had a chance to vote on a bipartisan measure coming out of the Senate back in — five years ago, they wouldn't let it come to a vote because the Republican tea partiers wouldn't let the speaker, who was a Republican, even bring it up even though it had majority support in both houses? As Progressives, will you push for votes, even when you disagree if they have majority support? 

OMAR: So, I mean, I think the difference is that we have a leader that has been really effective in — in governing, and so we're exciting to know that we have someone who knows how things are supposed to work, who knows the hard work that goes into building a consensus within your caucus, and someone who understand the kind of mandate we have to get real change instituted for all of us. So I think the difference between the tea party coming in in 2010 to kind of be the obstructionists and those of us coming in to bring about hope, to bring about change, to work on behalf of Americans is a really big difference, and I think we're going to see that going forward in this new class. 

MATTHEWS: I hope you’re right, and I hope have Democratic will, lower case “d” as well as upper case “D.” That the majority wins and we get votes when a majority wants a vote. Thank you so much, Minnesota congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar. 

NB Daily Middle East Israel/Palestine MSNBC Hardball Minneapolis Star Tribune Chris Matthews
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