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May The Force Be With You, Ilhan


By Kambiz Zarrabi


I definitely understand what the young Somali emigre, now a congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, has been going through. I understand how it feels to be told "Why don't you go back to where you came from." Or, "If you don't like it here, you can just leave!"

I got used to being called a damn "furner" by my supervisor, a semi-literate redneck from Alabama, who was the "Party Chief" of a seismic exploration crew where I worked fresh out of college. He actually resented the fact that I was a college-graduate geologist; and said on more than one occasion that I had no right to occupy a space where a real American could be sitting in an American college classroom!

That was in 1960 California. There were many more episodes like that for years to come.

Twenty-some-years later, as a writer, lecturer and political commentator, I was often confronted by the very same verbiage whenever I criticized Administration's foreign policies.

A telling example took place when I was conducting a lecture on American foreign policy in the Middle East. It was in mid-2002, shortly after George W. Bush had called Iran a member of the Axis of Evil along with North Korea and Iraq. I don't want to get into any details here of why the word "Israel" pops up whenever the subject of Middle East problems is discussed.

A husband and wife team, Jewish Hungarian-Americans as I found out, interrupted the lecture by standing up and accusing me of anti-Semitism. "How dare you criticize my president" the lady shouted: "If you don't like it here, go back to where you came from."

I calmly asked them to sit down and listen up, continuing: "In a state run by a monarch, an emperor, or a dictator such as you had in Hungary under Kadar, you were forbidden to criticize your leader or his policies, under the penalty of imprisonment or even execution. You fled your homeland in 1956 and sought refuge in the United States, where you have the liberty to speak your mind and even to criticize your president and your government's policies: right? So, maybe I should say to you to go back to where you came from, if you don't like the Constitution that gives me the right to speak my mind!"

What they, as well as Mr. Trump, do not understand are two fundamental principles: First, how utterly ridiculous it is to assume that criticizing the policies or practices in a country is somehow unpatriotic. This assumption implies that true patriotism or love of one's homeland means sheepishly approving of and accepting the regime's policies or the prevailing social practices without objection.

Second, is not understanding and acknowledging that citizens who find problems with the status quo do have the option of standing defiantly and endeavoring to change what they see as the causes of what they object to, as do the likes of Ilhan Omar, rather than to remain silent, as do the Republicans in the Congress these days, or simply put their tails between their legs and move away, as Mr. Trump suggests!

In response to Mr. Trump's insulting tweets, Ilhan Omar could have said: "Mr. President, neither this White House, nor this country, is your private property; and I am not an intruder to be told to leave the premises."

Ms. Omar has been accused of being an anti-Semite because of some of her statements about the power and influence of the Jewish or Zionist organizations and individuals over America's foreign policies in the Middle East or toward the Islamic world in general. Did she truly misspeak, and was she wrong?

I have also been the target of similar accusations. But at almost 84, I am old enough to be Ilhan's grandfather and have been voicing similar opinions since before she was born. She is fairly new at this game and hasn't had enough exposure to learn that she is toying with the tail of a vicious tiger when she criticizes America's illegitimate child who has gained the status of the proverbial Sacred Cow! Arrangements are already underway by the Far-Right to unseat her, come the next term! Yes; Benjamins do carry a lot of weight, dear Ilhan: May whatever you believe in be with you.

But first, let's define what anti-Semitism is, which supposedly carries the connotation of racism, hate-speech or hate-crime.

Who are the Semitic people? In general, people who speak or spoke Semitic languages, Arabs, Jews, Palestinians, etc., are all Semites. However, having been cunningly highjacked by the Zionists, Jewish people are now regarded as the only real Semites!

Be that as it may, what should define anti-Semitism; i.e., anti-Judaism? Well, it simply implies a hatred of a people, not for what they stand for or do, but for just being Jewish: like being gay, albino, or people who lisp or happen to be blue-eyed!

So, is it correct to label as anti-Semitic any statement criticizing whatever the Zionist regime does in the region, to the residents in the occupied lands, or to non-Jewish citizens inside Israel?

Is it a racial or ethnic hate crime to question what the likes of Sheldon Adelson, who confesses he'd rather be considered an Israeli than an American, do by flooding millions of those Benjamins into the coffers of for-sale candidates who are willing to pledge allegiance to Israel at any cost, even if counter to the best interests of the United States?

Finally, is Ms. Ilhan Omar an anti-Semite and, as the Zionist flag bearing chameleon, Lindsay Graham, said, anti-American, as well? Whose true patriotism should be questioned here; Ilhan Omar's or Lindsay Graham's? Of course a man with questionable principles is more than likely faking his love for Israel just to increase his reelection chances; but the Likudniks don't mind that, as long as he votes in their favor as a US Senator! There are many Grahams in the US Congress: May Heaven protect Ms. Omar.

About the author:

Kambiz Zarrabi has devoted the last thirty-some years teaching, lecturing and writing about US/Iran relations. Previous to his retirement, his career included working as geologist/geophysicist in the oil and minerals exploration industries with American and Iranian firms and in the private sector. His tenure included serving at Iran's Ministry of Economy as the Director General of Mines in the late 60s and early 70s.

He received his college education at the University of California in Los Angeles, graduating in 1960.


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