I won’t try to justify the remark Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) made about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Joking or not she crossed the line, but neither can I justify Democrats using her comment to score points with a new, politically-motivated Islamophobia crisis and legislation to give another racism crisis the appearance of legitimacy.
Pelosi rants about Islamophobia. We’ve heard the same buildup to a racist crisis before.
In a typical bombastic Nancy Pelosi rant the speaker used Boebert’s ill-advised joke to extrapolate Islamophobia to the halls of Congress, the U.S., and the entire international community. Democrats brought us down this road with George Floyd. Cities burned. We travelled down it again with an alleged explosion of anti-Asian racism and hate crimes that focused on Donald Trump and COVID-19. Opposing illegal immigration made us even more racist and xenophobic on top of that. The pandemic was used to divide us even further along racial lines despite Democrats being the ones responsible for the health care system they blame for systemic racism.
With so much experience Pelosi knows exactly how to handle this new opportunity. She went back to September 11, 2001 and warned of an omnipresent, growing threat:
Sadly, but clearly, Islamophobia is a sinister, growing, and for too many American Muslims, a constant presence in our nation. To just review some figures, nearly 70 percent of American Muslims have personally experienced anti-Muslim discrimination since September 11th.1
Just like Charlottesville turned us into a nation of white supremacists and the George Floyd incident proved we are a country founded on racism, Rep. Boebert’s comment gave Pelosi an excuse to politicize a crisis of her party’s own making.
And, as we all know, the bigotry is targeted at one of our own – shamefully, from within this Congressional community. Racism and bigotry of any form, including Islamophobia, must be called out and condemned in any place it is found. This is particularly true in the halls of Congress, which are at the very heart of our democracy and where we have a responsibility under the rules of the House to behave in a way that brings dignity to this body.2
There is nothing dignified in what Pelosi is up to. The racism and bigotry that “must be called out and condemned in any place it is found” doesn’t include anti-Semitism from members of her party that is disregarded as quickly as it comes to light. Instead we got H.R. 5665, the Combatting International Islamophobia Act. Omar introduced the bill and set the stage:
As the United Nations said this year, anti-Muslim hatred has reached epidemic proportions and every country must take action,” said Rep. Omar.3
It’s hard to take the congresswoman seriously given the many times she’s been accused of the same thing:
On Monday, U.S. Representatives Mike Waltz (FL-6), Jim Banks (IN-3), and Claudia Tenney (NY-22) will introduce a censure resolution condemning and censuring U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), and Ayanna Pressley (MA-7) for defending foreign terrorist organizations and using rhetoric which contributed to anti-Semitic attacks across the United States.4
Even Democrats objected to a Tweet from Omar that put the U.S. and Israel on the same playing field as terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Taliban:
The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups. We urge Congresswoman Omar to clarify her words placing the US and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban.5
It’s lucky for Omar she’s a Democrat. This kind of tepid rebuke is the most we can expect. Pelosi and her colleagues will defend her despite what she says and support any legislation that establishes another bureaucratic tool to surveil and investigate. When it came time to vote not a single Democrat opposed this bill. Not a single Republican supported it.
Boebert was the excuse, but what is Omar’s H.R. 5665 really about?
What’s curious about this bill is that it’s an obvious swipe at Boebert and the GOP, yet the proposed Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia extends America’s reach overseas by:
Monitoring and combating acts of Islamophobia and Islamophobic incitement that occur in foreign countries.
Might this have something to do with Israel and Gaza? The language in H.R. 5665 includes acts of violence against mosques that Omar has condemned in the past:
We are horrified by the violent assault by Israeli forces on the Al Aqsa mosque, and the continued violent attacks on the Palestinian people during the holy month of Ramadan. More than 300 people were injured in the attack, 200 of whom have been hospitalized.6
Considering her support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement and past bigoted, anti-Semitic remarks I wouldn’t put anything past her except honesty about her intentions. Omar is no friend to Israel and in the wrong hands neither is this bill. H.R. 5665 is in the Senate’s hands now. We hope that wiser politicians than Omar and Pelosi will prevail.
UPDATE December 16, 2021: why did Democrats reject H.R. 5665 amendment to protect Israel?
After publishing this post I read an entry from the House Republican Committee on Rules that raised the same suspicions about the possible motivation behind H.R. 5665:
During markup on this measure, Democrats on the Foreign Affairs Committee rejected amendments offered by Republicans to ensure that the Office would focus its efforts on the ongoing oppression and genocide committed against the Uyghur Muslim minority by the People’s Republic of China and rejected another amendment to ensure that the State of Israel’s efforts to defend itself against terrorism would not be construed as “Islamophobia” by this proposed Office.7
There is no language in the bill to prevent this from happening and plenty to open the door to condemning our ally. Information reported to the Office to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia will include:
instances of propaganda in government and nongovernment media that attempt to justify or promote racial hatred or incite acts of violence against Muslim people;
the actions, if any, taken by the government of the country to respond to such violence and attacks or to eliminate such propaganda or incitement;
Democrats went so far as to extend their woke, authoritarian inclinations to foreign governments by keeping track of:
the efforts of such government to promote anti-bias and tolerance education;
If this bill becomes law there is no conceivable scenario where House members Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Omar, and their Squad colleagues will not use this language to attack Israel. Their recent opposition to funding the Iron Dome should tell us all we need to know about where this is headed is the Senate does the wrong thing.
UPDATE December 20, 2021: Democrats’ ethical dilemma pits Islamophobia against protecting the rights of women and girls
With so many liberal agenda items on the table it must be difficult to choose which delivers the most political wallop as November 2022 edges closer and the Biden administration turns the Democratic Party into a sinking ship of fools.
Resurrecting the threat of Islamophobia was an odd choice to rally the faithful. The immediate target is a single GOP congresswoman and the handful of House anti-Israel radicals are not going to turn the U.S. against our friend and ally by creating more investigatory bureaucracy, so what’s the point?
There’s an ethical risk here for Democrats who I’m certain would prefer we forget what a mess their president made of Afghanistan. The arrogance behind legislation that creates a U.S. agency to police Islamophobia worldwide is stunning when you consider Biden set the stage for an Islamic attack on women and girls whose rights Democrats also claim to support:
“I am deeply concerned for the millions of Afghan women and children who are likely to suffer once again under Taliban rule, and the US withdrawing our troops does not mean that our obligation to the Afghan people ends.8
Actually, that’s precisely what our withdrawal means. This came from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) who co-sponsored H.R. 5665. She presents quite the liberal conundrum. Is this partisan anti-Islamophobia campaign consistent with supporting a Democratic Party president whose historic foreign policy blunder set the stage for Islamists to take away the rights of women and girls?
Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA) didn’t seem to appreciate this glaring contradiction when she talked about equality and human rights:
“The frightening rise of Islamophobia can be seen around the world – and in the halls of Congress. If we are sincere in our fight for equality, religious freedom, and human rights, we must recognize Islamophobia and do all we can to eradicate it,” said Assistant Speaker Clark.9
This has nothing to do with sincerity, of course. H.R. 5665 is not about the international rise of Islamophobia any more than Democrats care about the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. The difference is that Omar’s bill is just a fantasy that will likely go nowhere. What happened in Afghanistan is very real. Every Democrat who supports Joe Biden should be held accountable by Americans who do care about what happened and the rights that were taken away.
December 30, 2021: does H.R. 5665 open the door to a UN investigation of America?
When he introduced an amendment to block H.R. 5665’s proposed U.S. Special Envoy from targeting Israel, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) warned:
We have seen what the United Nations Human Rights Council [HRC] has turned into: a biased body that spends more time criticizing Israel, a leader in supporting the LGBTQ community and promoting women’s rights, rather than addressing the gravest human rights horrors in other countries around the world.10
Gottheimer is a Democrat, but his party rejected his pro-Israel amendment.
H.R. 5665 provides:
The Special Envoy shall consult with domestic and international nongovernmental organizations and multilateral organizations and institutions, as the Special Envoy considers appropriate, to carry out this section.
That’s a foot in the door for the HRC, which has a history with America’s radical left. In 2020 Omar joined fellow Squad members and other Democrats in a letter to High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet calling for the HRC to investigate the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.11
America is also under Bachelet’s radar thanks to the Democrat Party’s “systemic racism” construct:
Racial discrimination in law enforcement cannot, as the Human Rights Council recognized, be separated from questions of systemic racism,” the High Commissioner concluded. “Only approaches that tackle both the endemic shortcomings in law enforcement, and address systemic racism – and the legacies it is built on – will do justice to the memory of George Floyd and so many others whose lives have been lost or irreparably damaged.”12
In keeping with longtime Democrat Party policy that the interests of the U.S. must be subordinate to the will of the global community, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also invited the HRC to investigate America. Rep. Boebert and six other lawmakers responded with a letter that warns about opening this liberal Pandora’s box:
We write to express serious concerns regarding the implications of your formal invitation for the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on contemporary forms of racism and minority issues to study “systemic racism” in the United States. We understand that this invitation could be the first step of a broader plan to invite all UN experts who report on human rights issues to investigate human rights abuses in the United States.13
Now H.R. 5665 offers the HRC a new opportunity get involved with our government. While promoting her bill Omar cited 500 alleged instances of U.S. Islamophobia. Considering that both the congresswoman and Blinken are willing to subject America to UN scrutiny, only a fool would fail to heed Boebert’s warning.
HRC commends Black Lives Matter
Bachelet credits Black Lives Matter with “grassroots leadership:”
The Black Lives Matter movement and other civil society groups led by people of African descent have provided grassroots leadership through listening to communities,” Bachelet said. “They are also providing people with the necessary agency and empowerment that enables them to claim their human rights. Such efforts should receive funding, public recognition and support.14
Most Americans who watched their cities burn and listened to glass breaking during the summer of 2020’s looting sprees will have a hard time with that statement. Biden, Blinken, Omar, and the rest of the Democrat Party’s America-hating crew will eagerly buy into it.
The Biden administration is so weak it can’t even summon the will to challenge China on COVID-19 as we approach the 1 million American lives lost mark, so don’t expect anything but acquiescence and approval if Democrats help the UN decide that America is the human rights abuser to go after. Pelosi is already warning about the threat:
Sadly, but clearly, Islamophobia is a sinister, growing, and for too many American Muslims, a constant presence in our nation.15
With a razor thin House majority, near-certain massive losses in November 2022, and the speaker’s fondness for investigating her opposition, why would anything think that Democrats won’t consider inviting the HRC to deal with endemic Islamophobia starting with Republicans in Congress? That’s just to get the ball rolling.
What does this have to do with H.R. 5665 and Israel? That’s a puzzle. As one of Pelosi’s own pointed out, the HRC is no friend to Israel. Democrats don’t want it on the record that they attacked our ally. Is the solution to bring in the UN to advance Omar’s anti-Semitic cause without the accompanying political fallout?
A more sinister and entirely plausible explanation is that this is a pre-midterm mechanism to open up a massive investigation of Islamophobia among U.S. conservatives and Republicans, in particular. Yes, H.R. 5665 is about foreign countries, but once Blinken’s State Department gets involved does anyone believe it will stop there?
1“Pelosi Floor Speech on H.R. 5665, the Combatting International Islamophobia Act.” speaker.gov. December 14, 2021. https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/121421-4, retrieved December 15, 2021.
3“House Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Combating International Islamophobia Act.” omar.house.gov. December 10, 2021. https://omar.house.gov/media/press-releases/house-foreign-affairs-committee-passes-combating-international-islamophobia-act, retrieved December 15, 2021.
4“Waltz to Introduce Censure Resolution Condemning Reps. Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Pressley.” waltz.house.gov. June 14, 2021. https://waltz.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=507, retrieved December 15, 2021.
5“Statement on Congresswoman Omar Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.” schneider.house.gov. June 9, 2021. https://schneider.house.gov/media/press-releases/statement-congresswoman-omar-equating-united-states-and-israel-hamas-and, retrieved December 16, 2021.
6“Reps. Omar, Carson, and Tlaib Statement on Attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque During Ramadan.” omar.house.gov. May 10, 2021. https://omar.house.gov/media/press-releases/reps-omar-carson-and-tlaib-statement-attacks-al-aqsa-mosque-during-ramadan, retrieved December 15, 2021.
7“Ranking Member Cole Hearing Remarks on H.R. 5665 and H. Res. (H. Rept. 117-216).” republicans-rules.house.gov. December 14, 2021. https://republicans-rules.house.gov/press-release/ranking-member-cole-hearing-remarks-hr-5665-h-res-h-rept-117-216, retrieved December 16, 2021.
8“Assistant Speak [sic] Clark Votes to Combat Global Islamophobia.” katherineclark.house.gov. December 15, 2021. https://katherineclark.house.gov/press-releases?ID=1D438902-FCEE-4192-8278-5EDA4A7DEF34, retrieved December 20, 2021.
9“Congresswoman Maloney: We Must Not Abandon Afghan Women and Girls.” maloney.house.gov. September 3, 2021. https://maloney.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/congresswoman-maloney-we-must-not-abandon-afghan-women-and-girls, retrieved December 20, 2021.
10“Release: Gottheimer Proposes Amendment to Prohibit Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Islamophobia from Disparaging Israel or Working With Biased United Nations Human Rights Commissioner.” gottheimer.house.gov. December 14, 2021. https://gottheimer.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=2884, retrieved December 29, 2021.
11“Omar, Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez & Pressley Lead Call for International Investigation Into Alleged DHS Human Rights Abuses.” omar.house.gov. October 23, 2020. https://omar.house.gov/media/press-releases/omar-tlaib-ocasio-cortez-pressley-lead-call-international-investigation-alleged, retrieved December 29, 2021.
12“UN Human Rights Chief urges immediate, transformative action to uproot systemic racism.” ohchr.org. June 28, 2021. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=27218&LangID=E, retrieved December 29, 2021.
13“Rep. Boebert Condemns Secretary Blinken’s Invitation to the UN to Study Systemic Racism and Promote Critical Race Theory.” boebert.house.gov. August 4, 2021. https://boebert.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-boebert-condemns-secretary-blinkens-invitation-un-study-systemic-racism, retrieved December 29, 2021.
14“UN Human Rights Chief urges immediate, transformative action to uproot systemic racism.” June 28, 2021. Op. cit.
15“Pelosi Floor Speech on H.R. 5665, the Combatting International Islamophobia Act.” December 14, 2021. Op. cit.
Author’s note: this post was edited for clarity and content after original publish date of December 15, 2021.