It’s bad enough being willing to overlook the grotesque heartlessness of Ilhan Omar’s characterization of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. It’s something again to express solidarity with the beleaguered Congress member by invoking the horrors of the Holocaust, especially in light of Omar’s blatantly anti-Semitic remarks.
Yet, that is precisely what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did in a tweet condemning Donald Trump for reacting to Omar’s comment by tweeting out a graphic reminder of the horrific images of that fateful day still seared in the minds of many Americans.
In her tweet, Ocasio-Cortez called upon members of Congress “to respond to the President’s explicit attack,” noting that Omar has received death threats, and adding:
For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress. We must speak out.
Apparently, in a misguided effort to emphasize the danger of silent complacency, she appended part of the first line of a famous poem by German theologian Martin Niemöller inspired by the horrors of the Holocaust. She also included a photo of a reproduction of the poem that appears on a wall at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Here’s the tweet, followed by the poem:
Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today.@IlhanMN’s life is in danger. For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress.
We must speak out.
“First they came…” pic.twitter.com/ygOX1vhE9j
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 12, 2019
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me— and there was no one left to speak for me.
The selection of this poem is rich with irony that is surely lost on Ocasio-Cortez, not the least of it being the line “I was not a socialist.” But more significantly, in running for her House seat in 2018, Omar campaigned on behalf of the U.S. normalizing relations with Iran, a state that denies the Holocaust.
Omar has never been questioned directly on whether she accepts the reality of the systematic extermination of six million Jews, but maybe it is time someone ask her. We reached out to her with that query today. Stay tuned for her response.