Israel and China influence the West in Many Ways. India Can Develop These Muscles Too


Somalia-born US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was ousted from the US Foreign Affairs Committee following a vote on February 2. She has been one of the most strident anti-India voices in the US Congress.

On Thursday (February 2), the US House of Representatives voted to remove controversial Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from its powerful Foreign Affairs Committee over her history of making anti-Israel remarks. For instance, last year, in a tweet she posted, she seemed to equate Israel, a democracy, with the Taliban.

“We just do not believe when it comes to foreign affairs, especially the responsibility of that position around the world with the comments that you make, she shouldn’t serve there,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters after the vote.

Many in the Indian government would have been pleased at Omar’s comeuppance. The Somalia-born Congresswoman, the first to wear a hijab inside the House, has been one of the most strident anti-India voices in the US Congress.

In 2019, during a Congressional hearing about human rights in South Asia soon after the revocation of Article 370 by the Indian government, she confronted journalist Aarti Tikoo Singh, the only Kashmiri Hindu who had been invited, and said that her testimony on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the Valley was an “incredibly dubious claim”.

In April last year, Omar visited Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The Indian ministry of external affairs termed the trip “condemnable” and said, “If such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home, that may be her business. But violating our territorial integrity and sovereignty in its pursuit makes it ours.” The US government distanced itself from Omar, saying that it had been a “personal visit” and did not reflect US policy.

Two months later, Omar introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives attacking India’s alleged human rights record and “violations” of religious freedom, “including those targeting Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Adivasis and other religious and cultural minorities”. The resolution expressed “grave concern about the worsening treatment of religious minorities in India”, and called on the US Secretary of State to designate India as a “country of particular concern”.

She has also demanded that the US review its security alliance with India in the Indo-Pacific region. “How are we promoting a free and open (Indo-Pacific) region by supporting Modi?” Omar asked in the House. “How much does the Modi government have to criminalise the act of being Muslim in India for us to say something?” She averred that the US government must do something about “the genocide (of Muslims) that’s taking place” in India.

Fundamentally, Omar represents a quiet coalition that clever radical Islamists have been forging in the West with left-liberals and wokes. The playbook consists of a few simple moves. One, all white people, Jews and “upper castes” in India are by definition guilty of oppression and supremacism. Two, aggressively agitate for “social justice” and “cancel” anyone who argues, even if this entails violence. Three, the moment there is any pushback, pull out the victim card—race, caste, gender, and the most powerful of them all—”Islamophobia”. Omar and her cohorts have made a career out of both shouting and whining from a victim-martyr position while actually pushing a determined global Islamist agenda. And the left-liberals and wokes buy her story happily.

So Islamists speak of human rights and left-liberals rage against Islamophobia.

Omar has airily dismissed the 9/11 attacks that claimed 3,000 lives as “some people did something”. She has refused to recognize the genocide of Armenian Christians by Muslim Turks in early 20th century—more than a million were killed, hundreds of thousands were forcibly converted to Islam, effectively ending the 2,000-year-old Armenian civilization.

In fact, she has voted against every resolution introduced in the US Congress—all of which were passed with huge bipartisan support—criticizing or proposing sanctions against the brutal Islamist regime in Turkey led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan’s government has been financing mosques and madrassahs across the planet, from the US and Latin America to sub-Saharan Africa, and he has been trying to project himself as the leader of the Islamic world, transcending all national barriers.

Incidentally, Erdogan, whose country has been termed by Amnesty International as “the world’s largest prison for journalists”, also uses progressive jargon. He speaks of “social justice” and has claimed that “Turkey is the biggest opportunity for western countries in the fight against xenophobia, Islamophobia, cultural racism and extremism”.

Omar, who represents just one district in the state of Minnesota, clearly has big ambitions. She too, like Erdogan, wants to be a global voice for hard-line Islamism. Immediately after she was voted out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, she predictably pulled out her victim card and said that she was being targeted as she is a woman, Black and Muslim. Whereas her sacking was due to her openly anti-Semitic views—the result would have been the same even if she was male, white and Christian.

I didn’t come to Congress to be silent. I came to Congress to be their voice.

— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 2, 2023

But there is a long-term strategic lesson for India here. It is obvious that the Israeli government and its Washington DC lobbyists and sympathizers were successful in convincing Republican Party leaders to call for a vote on Omar—such votes are extremely rare in US parliamentary history—and get her thrown out. Every Republican present in the House on Thursday voted against her. This is a victory for Israel.

India must learn from Israel and China on how to influence the West. Western lawmakers, academics and journalists—including many of Indian origin—regularly make uninformed, biased and unfair comments about India, from human rights to Kashmir to “fascism” to the war against Covid. China has a terrible human rights record and its response to the pandemic has been a disaster on a grand scale that posed threats to the entire world in many ways. But India gets consistently poor press, whereas US corporates lobby for Chinese interests with their government and for nearly three years, much of Western mainstream media censored all mention of the theory that the virus may have originated in a Chinese laboratory.

That is what real power is. India must move beyond rhetoric and work to achieve it.


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