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March 27, 2019 3:26 pm

Senior Aide to Rep. Ilhan Omar Criticized for Claiming Antisemitism Is Only a ‘Right-Wing Force’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in 2016. Photo: Lorie Shaull via Wikicommons.

A top aide to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was criticized on Wednesday for claiming antisemitism was purely a right-wing phenomenon.

Omar has drawn condemnation recently for a number of statements widely viewed as antisemitic. The Democrat from Minnesota has claimed she was being silenced for merely criticizing Israeli policies.

On Wednesday, Omar’s senior communications director and strategist, Jeremy Slevin, reacted to tweet by Omar that attacked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for brokering a deal with a far-right party. Omar wrote, “To confront hate and bigotry in all its forms, we must understand that they are all related. We cannot call out one form of hate while turning a blind eye to another.”

Slevin, who has worked in the past for Democratic Representative Keith Ellison, the Center for American Progress, and MSNBC, responded with a tweet, saying, “Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-win.”

Yair Rosenberg, a senior writer at Tablet magazine, took Slevin to task for his tweet, saying, “This from Ilhan Omar’s comms guy is deeply misguided. I’ve reported on anti-Semitism for years across continents. It’s not a Muslim problem, a Christian problem, a left problem or a right problem. It’s a human problem. Anyone telling you otherwise needs to educate themselves.”

“Your politics do not insulate you from falling prey to anti-Jewish bigotry,” Rosenberg added. “Today and throughout history, people have adopted and spread anti-Jewish conspiracies and invective and violence across the ideological spectrum, from Stalin to Hitler.”

“There is this game that political partisans play where they try to retroactively disown their own side’s anti-Semites,” he asserted. “’The Nazis were really national SOCIALISTS.’ ‘Stalin wasn’t really on the left.’ It’s a way of avoiding reckoning with one’s own susceptibility to bigotry.”

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