Guardian headline obfuscates antisemitism

Whilst it's true that Ilhan Omar has been the target of ugly abuse by some due to her ethnic and/or religious background, such completely unjustifiable bigotry doesn't seem intellectually dissimilar to the liberal racism which rejects universal moral standards by minimising, obfuscating or justifying antisemitism due merely to the gender, race or religion of the perpetrator.

The latest charges of antisemitism against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar center around comments she made at a Washington, DC bookstore on Wednesday, when she evoked the dual loyalty charge in suggesting that many pro-Israel Jews push for “allegiance” to a foreign country.

During the talk, she also accused her “Jewish colleagues” of labeling criticism of Israel voiced by her and fellow freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tliab as antisemitic merely because they are Muslim. 

(Note that Tlaib was also criticised for evoking the dual loyalty charge following a tweet in January.)

Omar’s latest comments were the subject an Associated Press (AP) article on March 2.

The article included Omar’s quote about “allegiance to a foreign country” and noted that Jewish leaders complained that these words “revived an old trope about the loyalties of American Jews.

On that day, the Guardian published the same AP article, but, as you can see, significantly changed the headline.

The headline not only ignores the dual loyalty trope within Omar’s comments, but also seems to attack her Jewish critics, by suggesting they’re falsely characterising mere criticism of the “pro-Israel lobby” as antisemitic.

Indeed, by using the word “again”, it appears as if editors are expressing skepticism over previous accusations of antisemitism against Omar after she suggested that the pro-Israel lobby buys the support of US politicians.  As we noted at the time, the Guardian ran several articles following the February row that were sympathetic of Omar, showing that the latest biased headline is part of a pattern of such bias – and in fact illustrates a broader editorial tendency to question accusations of antisemitism when directed at those deemed, by intersectionality calculus, to be higher on the victim scale.

Whilst it’s true that Omar has been the target of ugly abuse by some due to her ethnic and/or religious background, such completely unjustifiable bigotry doesn’t seem intellectually dissimilar to the liberal racism which rejects universal moral standards by minimising, obfuscating or justifying antisemitism due merely to the gender, race or religion of the perpetrator.

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