Days after reports surfaced that Rep. Ilhan Omar had been receiving Islamophobic death threats, President Donald Trump provoked outrage when he shared on social media a video in which Omar was compared to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
On his official Twitter account, Trump retweeted a video of Republican strategist and pro-Israel lobbyist Jeff Ballabon saying Omar’s recent statement that Trump adviser Stephen Miller is a white nationalist makes her “the most dangerous anti-Semite we’ve ever seen.”
“Let’s be clear, Jews can absolutely be white nationalists. It’s not antisemitic to call these people out. They NEED to be called out. Otherwise, they’ll keep claiming that they represent Jews because they fight for unconditional support for Israel.” —IfNotNowIn the video, Ballabon dodged a question about Miller’s anti-immigrant agenda and quickly redirected the interview to Omar’s perceived “attack” on Jewish people.
“What’s completely unacceptable is for Ilhan Omar to yet again target Jews. In this case it’s not just Stephen Miller, what she’s doing is by declaring a Jew, someone who’s known to be Jewish, a white nationalist, is she’s saying, ‘Jews, you’re not minorities,'” asserted Ballabon.
“She is the most dangerous anti-Semite we’ve ever seen,” he continued. “She’s more dangerous than David Duke and Louis Farrakhan combined, because she sits where she sits and no one is stopping her, and she keeps on assaulting Jews.”
Omar had tweeted her statement about Miller on Monday, along with a link to a story about Miller pushing for “tougher” immigration policies in the Trump administration.
Many found Omar’s statement decidedly uncontroversial, considering Miller’s support for family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border and his open association with Steve Bannon, a former Trump White House adviser and Breitbart News executive who has publicly called for “nationalist patriots” to emerge as Europe’s “new elite.”
Trump’s retweet came three days after a man identified as a supporter of the president was arrested for threatening to kill Omar in a call to her office.
A woman also called a hotel where Omar was staying in Los Angeles last week, threatening to bomb the building, and the freshman congresswoman’s name was included on a list of targets created by U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant Christopher Hasson, who the FBI arrested in February.
Ahead of the threats, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro had suggested on air that Omar may adhere to “Sharia law” and the Washington Free Beacon claimed in a report that Omar was holding “secret fundraisers with Islamic groups tied to terror.”
On Tuesday, Trump drew condemnation for fanning the hatred that’s been directed at Omar.
Jewish critics including at least one rabbi were among those who came to Omar’s defense, saying that—despite their shared faith with Miller—they took no exception to the Trump adviser being labeled a white nationalist.
The Jewish American progressive group IfNotNow called the “double standard” that Ballabon and other conservatives have applied to Omar “unacceptable and clearly Islamophobic.”
“Let’s be clear, Jews can absolutely be white nationalists,” the group tweeted.
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