Emotional criticism by Meghan McCain of Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s allegedly anti-Semitic remarks has spawned an online uproar, after a Jewish artist drew a cartoon that mocked the late Arizona senator’s daughter and was himself accused of employing anti-Semitic tropes and imagery.
Speaking on Thursday on ABC’s “The View,” which she co-hosts, McCain addressed the recent controversy surrounding Omar, a Minnesota freshman representative who critics say has dabbled in anti-Semitism, roiling the Democratic Party; her supporters say she is paying the price for criticizing Israel.
Omar, 37, has said that Israel’s supporters were pushing US lawmakers to take a pledge of “allegiance” to a foreign country. Several lawmakers expressed indignation, warning that Omar was peddling in age-old anti-Semitic tropes about Jews having dual allegiances.
A Muslim-American, Omar has been critical of the Jewish state in the past and apologized for those previous comments. But she has not apologized for what many in Congress saw as a suggestion that Israel’s supporters have split loyalties.
“The problem is, right now, there’s pressure to support her within the Democratic Party because identity politics and intersectionality is something that is important to Democrats,” McCain said.
“With the rise of anti-Semitism in this country, is it more important to defend party politics or is it more important to [object to] anti-Semitism?” McCain continued. “If what Ilhan Omar were saying for the past few weeks were said by a white Republican male, how would you be reacting to it right now?”
“I take this very personally,” McCain later added. “I would go so far as to say I probably verge on being a Zionist as well.
“I take the hate crimes raising in this country incredibly seriously and I think what’s happening in Europe is really scary. And I’m sorry if I’m getting emotional,” she continued, her voice cracking. She described Omar’s comments as “very dangerous” and “very scary.”
Responding to the interview, Jewish artist Eli Valley posted a cartoon of a tearful McCain holding a Jude six-pointed star, pouring matzo ball soup mix into a bowl, alongside books entitled “The Jewish Race Explained” and “A Christian’s Guide to Seder,” and other Jewish symbols.
“This is one of the most anti-semitic things I’ve ever seen. Also, this reveals so much more about you than it does me…” tweeted McCain in response to the cartoon.
— Eli Valley (@elivalley) March 8, 2019
Ezra Koenig, the Jewish frontman of the Vampire Weekend band, also weighed in.
“What does anti-Semitic even mean to you? he’s a Jewish cartoonist who has spent his career examining Jewish identity, Zionism & anti-semitism. if this is the most anti-Semitic thing you’ve ever seen, you haven’t spent any time examining those issues yourself,” Koenig tweeted.
This is one of the most anti-semitic things I’ve ever seen. Also, this reveals so much more about you than it does me… https://t.co/IdfGuWcJZu
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) March 8, 2019
On Friday, US President Donald Trump blasted Democrats as “anti-Israel” and “anti-Jewish” after they passed a congressional measure opposing hate speech in general instead of specifically condemning alleged anti-Semitic comments by Omar.
what does anti-Semitic even mean to you? he’s a Jewish cartoonist who has spent his career examining Jewish identity, Zionism & anti-semitism. if this is the most anti-Semitic thing you’ve ever seen, you haven’t spent any time examining those issues yourself
— Ezra Koenig (@arzE) March 8, 2019
The resolution was originally intended to deliver a direct rebuke of Omar. But after blowback from progressives, it was revised to broadly condemn discrimination against Muslims and other minorities as well.