MENA Salon: The Israel Lobby and Anti-Semitism

Workshop | March 1 | 3-4 p.m. | 340 Stephens Hall

 Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Every Friday the CMES hosts an informal guided discussion of current events in the Middle East and North Africa, open to all.

In February, Ilhan Omar, the first of two American Muslim women elected to the US House of Representatives, went under-fire from Democrats and Republicans. Omar tweeted “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” in response to the move of Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarthy to seek formal sanctions against Omar and fellow congresswomen Rashida Tlaib for their criticism of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and their support for the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Omar later clarified that her tweet referred to the like of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC, the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying organization. AIPAC mobilized against Omar, suggesting her tweet played into anti-Semitic tropes. Other members of Congress followed suit—both Republican and Democrat. In its aftermath, a debate has re-opened around criticism of Israel and its conflation with anti-Semitism. During this week’s salon, we will discuss different sides of this debate, focusing on how concerns for Palestinian civil rights and the state of Israel get represented in/make inroads into current American political life.

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