The recent letter regarding criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib missed the point of why the remarks of these legislators are considered anti-Semitic.
Anti-Semitism is defined as disdain and hatred of Jews regardless of what they do. It is also characterized by singling out Jews and Jewish institutions for criticism that is not levied against others who commit the same acts. Lastly, it is applying stereotypical generalizations and conspiracy theories to the Jewish people.
Omar has behaved in ways that exemplify all three aspects of anti-Semitism. She has singled out Israel as a human rights abuser with no condemnation of the myriad of other countries which do far worse in that regard. She is in support of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel, which is a form of economic terrorism against Israel.
Omar has also referred to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in conspiratorial terms as trying to “take over” the policies of the United States government. This attitude plays into the age old anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews trying to take over the world. And Omar has stated that anyone who shows support for Israel is pledging their allegiance to a foreign government, over their loyalty to the United States. If the latter is true, then anyone who supports foreign aid to another country, no matter what country that is, is a traitor! But of course, she is not criticizing those who support other countries. These are all indications of a bias on her part towards Israel, and Jews.
In addition, Omar has associated herself with known anti-Semites, like Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, who is an avowed racist and anti-Semite.
It is certainly permissible in our democracy to criticize anyone, and any country with which we have disagreements, and being constructively critical of Israel for any of its policies is not anti-Semitic, but using prejudicial lies, inaccurate information, and double standards toward a country or entire group of people is morally wrong and dangerous because it has real life consequences.