CNN Gets Called Out for Ignoring Democratic Anti-Semitism

October 30, 2018

Former White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short accused CNN Tuesday of allowing anti-Semitism to go unchallenged in the Democratic Party.

Short made the comments during an appearance on CNN’s "New Day" with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman. He pointed to the race for the open seat in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, where the candidate "has all sorts of anti-Semitic language in her past and she's going to be the nominee [sic]." He suggested mainstream media did not take leftwing anti-Semitism seriously. He asked: "Do you even know her name? Do you even know who she is?"

Camerota would not offer a name in response. "We've reported on it," she replied without elaborating, steering the discussion back to Trump.

Short was referring to Minnesota's state representative Ilhan Omar, who is the Democratic nominee for Congress in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. Omar is running to fill Keith Ellison’s (D., Minn.) vacant seat.

CNN has covered Omar’s campaign, albeit overwhelmingly in uncritical and glowing terms. One profile painted her as a progressive barrier-breaker. It made brief mention of allegations of anti-semitism, noting she denies the charge. It promptly moves on to how "Omar has been faced with Islamophobic attacks." The others focused on her identity and on support for her campaign, not on the serious accusations against her.

Short is not the first to accuse Omar of anti-Semitism. Omar previously claimed that the Israeli government was an "Apartheid regime." She also accused Israel of "evil" conduct. In one notable tweet, she claimed Israel had "hypnotized the world."

Omar denies she is anti-Semitic, defending her support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate the state of Israel and force it to change its policies.

Omar has also been accused of taking a soft stance on terrorism. In 2017, she opposed a bill that would deny convicted terrorists life insurance payments.

She also opposed a bill prohibiting parents from mutilating their daughters’ genitalia, a practice still common in some parts of the world, including Omar’s native Somalia.

Both Republican and Democrat groups have voiced alarm at Omar’s likely election victory. The Republican Jewish Coalition listed Omar among a number of "racists and anti-Semites" running as Democrats in 2018. The Jewish Democratic Council of America refused to endorse her.

Oddly, Omar’s campaign has also fended off questions about Omar’s marital status. The questions followed accusations and evidence brought by conservative organizations that she had married her brother to assist with the citizenship process.

In an interview with the Associated Press last month, "Omar and her campaign … declined to provide the AP with a list of her siblings."

Omar called the accusations "absolutely false and ridiculous." She tried to clarify, explaining she’d married and separated from two men, neither of whom was a relative. She claimed she was again with the first man, and was in the process of aligning her government paperwork with her religious marital status.

Her challenger, Republican Abdimalik Askar, raised doubts about Omar’s version of events.

"The truly odd thing about the story is how Omar’s campaign has chosen to respond," he said. "Instead of having her brother explain who he married or producing any sort of documentation, Omar released a statement calling the accusations a racist witch-hunt."