The March 7 article “Uproar over Omar divides Democrats” raises a number of troubling issues.
Racism, bigotry, prejudice and hatred are “cancers” that we must all continue to work to eliminate if we are to survive as a society.
Of concern also was the rationalization of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments. Two state representatives tweeted that “it was not right to single Omar out given comments by other lawmakers, especially Republicans, that they see as bigoted or prejudiced.”
The truth of the matter is that racism, bigotry and hatred are wrong regardless of who engages in these acts. They are wrong for all elected officials. They are wrong for all humanity. These acts are hurtful and unacceptable. To rationalize that because somebody else did it, it is OK, is also wrong.
None of us are without fault. Let us all acknowledge our shortcomings and strive to improve.
Thomas Noonan, Burnsville
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I am having great difficulty in understanding why Omar can’t ask questions about Israeli influence in the United States, under any circumstances. We asked prolific questions about Russian involvement in our politics, seemingly without restraint. Remarks on the Russian involvement allegations were, and are, made in each branch of our government, the media and even in late-night comedy. I haven’t heard anyone question that these allegations might be racist. However, I don’t believe Omar needs to show precedent to justify these types of questions. It’s simply her job. She shouldn’t have to fear reprisal, anymore than one questioning Russian influence.
Theodore Harmon, Minneapolis
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My understanding is that bringing any issue up for debate is longstanding right of a member of the U.S. House. But Rep. Omar is not bringing it up there. She states her opinion in bookstores or before friends and colleagues in Washington. Such remarks are indeed offensive in these nonpolitical places. And then she is puzzled that we Minnesotans are appalled.
If she wants to do something about Israel and the Jewish people, she must bring it up in an appropriate setting. It is as offensive as dropped comments about the black community or women. (There are still lots of these ugly ones around.) Plus it is an imitation of President Donald Trump’s use of similar name-calling that we all hate. We, in Minnesota, are fast losing respect for her. She must learn the difference between name-calling and finding a way to way to bring the issues up in a setting where she could propose during something about it.
Dorion Macek, Minneapolis
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I am furious at the continuing misquoting of Rep. Omar. While it is not the case with the March 7 front-page article, again and again I have seen “allegiance to a foreign country” tied to words she did not say. She did not say supporters of Israel have an allegiance to a foreign power, she said they “push for allegiance to a foreign country.” It is extremely unfair to take part of what she said and attach it to words she did not say, then use that to accuse her of anti-Semitism. I expect more from responsible journalists. Look at the facts, not at what people are saying.
Paul Shriver, Minneapolis
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I am an anti-Semite. I believe in the right of Israel to exist. I admire the remarkable developments Israel has accomplished since its founding. The diaspora of the Jewish people, accompanied historically by appalling persecution, has brought, thanks to their genius and industry, extraordinary creative benefits to the countries where they settled, including this country. But I am still an anti-Semite.
How come? Because I reject that kind of religious fanaticism that claims a particular divinity gave a particular plot of land to a particular people. I condemn the Israeli colonization of Palestinian houses, fields, orchards and wells. I am revolted by the Israeli creation of an apartheid military and police state that acts with impunity toward the Palestinians, and that routinely imprisons and tortures children. For these and other egregious acts of disproportionate and bullying aggression, led by a racist, right-wing political thug under the specious cover of Israel’s “right to protect itself,” I believe I have every constitutional right to call for a boycott of goods produced by Israel on occupied Palestinian land.
I also despise the cringing political subservience shown by many in the political class of this country toward a foreign country whose unchanging demand is for more, and more, and more, and more. These opinions make me, in the eyes of Zionist fanatics and venal American politicians, an anti-Semite. I am proud to be called such by such people.
Jonathan Hill, Northfield
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U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has it all wrong. He sees “an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling” the debate over Israeli policies with respect to the occupied territories.
People are not trying to stifle legitimate debate, but rather the couching of respectful, legitimate debate in disrespectful, illegitimate terms. The old “divided loyalty” canard has been debunked by Jews serving their country in myriad ways.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum has it all right in noting that Omar’s effectiveness as a legislator could suffer if she continues to cause controversy. Omar is my representative. I want her to be able to introduce bills that benefit Minnesota’s Fifth District, the state and the country, and have other legislators join her. Who’s going to stand with a woman at the center of multiple controversies?
Would that my legislator would follow the example of other “newbies” and listen and learn before speaking out so often.
Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis
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I had never heard the word “trope” before the controversy around Omar’s recent remarks.
So I looked it up; it basically means a metaphor or figure of speech. Anti-Semites, racists and other ignorant people often use tropes in a negative way, stereotyping those they are talking about. But the converse is not necessarily true — that anyone using those tropes is anti-Semitic. That doesn’t mean those on the receiving end will not take it as such. Being anti-Semitic and being disrespectful are two distinct things; someone may be disrespectful for reasons other than your religion. I see Omar’s remarks as disrespectful and insensitive, not anti-Semitic.
My suggestion to her would to be respectful to all people; people she agrees with and also those she does not. Even be respectful to those who disrespect her. It is the human thing to do, and it may also turn opponents into allies, rather than turning allies into opponents.
Scott Nation, Minneapolis
‘MEDICARE FOR ALL’
Will no one sacrifice?
David Brooks can’t figure out how we get from here to there in health care — “there” being “Medicare for All.” (“Transition from private care is the trick,” March 7). His commentary shines a light on the sad truth about our country and our culture: Everyone is entitled to what they already have. Patients to their doctors, doctors to their fees, drug companies to their profits, insurance executives to their stock options, shareholders to their capital gains, etc. Sacrifice for the common good? Great, as long as it doesn’t require sacrifice from me.
Dan Berg, Minneapolis
Stadiums and schools
How appropriate that in the same section of the March 6 paper, there was an article about the $4.6 million spent for Final Four curtains for U.S. Bank Stadium and another about St Paul schools running a $2.9 million deficit. Food for thought, as they say.
Charlie Rockler, Verndale, Minn.