The fact-checking site Snopes has once again put its considerable talents behind debunking a satirical story mocking a freshman House Democrat, in this case Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.).
The Babylon Bee, a Christian conservative-leaning satire site, went after Omar's repeated anti-Semitism controversies with a story on Monday headlined, "Ilhan Omar: ‘If Israel Is So Innocent, Then Why Do They Insist On Being Jews?'"
Recent Stories in Politics
When Israel responded with airstrikes to over 600 rockets fired at them from Gaza, many defended this as a justified act of defense. Representative Ilhan Omar lashed out against this view, saying on Twitter about Israel, "If they're so innocent, why are they Jews?"
Omar pointed out how many in Israel continue in the extremely hostile act of being Jewish, provoking all of the people around them. "They want people to feel sorry for them," Omar said, "but they're just out there, every day, being Jews. It's almost like they're taunting everyone."
Using three tweets taking the story seriously as proof of it taking hold, Snopes wrote the quote was false and that she had "made no public statements resembling those" in the Babylon Bee‘s article:
Despite its attracting an outraged constituency of believers, however, the quote and the article from which it came are completely fictional. The Babylon Bee, which advertises itself as "Your Trusted Source for Christian News Satire," publishes only satirical content aimed at a conservative Christian readership.
In this case, the website's intent was to ridicule Omar's reaction to escalating violence on the Gaza Strip ("The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable," she tweeted, emphasizing the plight of Palestinians) by attributing barely coherent anti-Semitic quotes to her. Earlier in the year, Omar was accused by members of both parties of using "anti-Semitic tropes" in criticizing Israel's influence over U.S. politics. She has made no public statements resembling those in the Babylon Bee article, however.
Omar was forced to apologize early in her young congressional tenure for accusing pro-Israel politicians of being paid off by Jewish lobbyists, and she's also suggested that support of Israel is akin to dual loyalty, an old anti-Semitic canard. In 2012, she accused Israel of having "hypnotized the world."
"If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?" https://t.co/zr9a3Kklps
— snopes.com (@snopes) May 9, 2019
Snopes fact-checked another humorous Babylon Bee story last month that joked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) had gone on the game show The Price Is Right and guessed everything was free. Concerned about a viral photo of Ocasio-Cortez circulating on social media, the site assured readers it was "not a genuine photograph of Ocasio-Cortez on the show."
The article was a play on Ocasio-Cortez's democratic socialist policies, which include an intersectional "Green New Deal" promising free public college, a federal jobs guarantee, and a universal basic income.