Remember the outcry over Rolling Stone magazine’s appalling July 2013 cover feature on Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?

Apparently it didn’t faze them, because they’re out with another cover and feature story series that glamorizes two freshmen Congresswomen whose actions and/or associations with powerful anti-Semitic figures should be concerning to everyone.

The Hill reports:

Rolling Stone magazine graced the cover of its March issue with four Democratic “women shaping the future.”

From left to right, the magazine’s latest cover features Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

“Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Jahana Hayes share their advice for young women, what they would say to Trump and their go-to theme song,” the magazine said in a tweet revealing behind-the-scenes footage of its cover shoot on Wednesday.

The magazine is heavily promoting the March issue on all of their social media platforms.

Watch a video sneak peak of the pre-photo shoot primping below:

Even more troubling than the cover itself was the feature interview they did with Rep. Omar. Here’s how it was framed:

Refugee. Immigrant. Muslim. She’s everything Trump is trying to ban. Now she’s in Congress

Got that? She could have been a political “victim” of Trump’s crackdown on refugees and illegal immigration (which is not a “ban” of anything, actually), but she defied the odds and won a seat in Congress. Ok.

The next thing they did, which was even worse, was to gloss over Omar’s disturbing history of anti-Semitism. They included an editor’s note at the beginning of the article:

This interview was conducted in January, several weeks before Rep. Ilhan Omar wrote, in a since-deleted tweet, that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s threat to punish herself and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib for their criticism of Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby.” Omar publicly apologized for the tweet, which was widely condemned — including by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with whom she appears on Rolling Stone‘s March cover — for employing an anti-Semitic trope. She declined a request for a follow-up interview, and responded to only one of a series of emailed questions from Rolling Stone. We have included that response at the end of this piece.

Here was that response:

Rolling Stone: In a tweeted apology, you wrote you were grateful to ‘Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating [you] on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes.’ What do you think you still have to learn about the Jewish faith or Jewish culture to avoid repeating such mistakes?

Rep. Omar: I know what intolerance looks like and one thing that has been painful about this whole process is knowing that I used language that caused hurt to others. My hope is that as much as I hold others accountable and help them learn, that people will also hold me accountable. I work every day to make sure we are living in a more tolerant world. And I hope people understand how deeply I care about creating that world. That’s why one of the first things I did as a member-elect was to speak about the rise of anti-Semitism — and one of the first bills I cosponsored as a new member was legislation to elevate the position of a Special Envoy to combat anti-Semitism. I’m an organizer at heart. I’ve given an earful to others who traffic in bigotry, so I need to listen and learn. Listening and working with communities directly impacted is what will make me a better public servant. Speaker Pelosi has been a mentor throughout this whole process and I look forward to working with her in furthering the people’s agenda.

Except she doesn’t listen and she doesn’t learn. Her apologies, when caught openly displaying her anti-Semitism, are meaningless and insincere. Not only that, but Rolling Stone seems to be under the mistaken impression that January 2019 was the first time Omar has ever expressed an anti-Semitical view.

It wasn’t.

And she did it again just this week at a gathering of supporters at a bookstore cafe in DC:

The two freshman members reflected on their few short months on the Hill in which they’ve both found themselves embroiled in controversy surrounding criticism of Israel, their support for the BDS movement, and for comments seen by many, including dozens of fellow Democrats, as anti-Semitic.

To begin the discussion among a boisterous and friendly audience, the moderator asked what “we as a community here can do to support you criticizing Israel for some of the war crimes that it has done so that it’s not seen as ‘you’re anti-Semitic’? Because you’re not criticizing the religion, you’re not criticizing Jewish people, you’re criticizing the government policies.”

Rep. Omar elaborated that when she hears her Jewish constituents offer criticisms of Palestinians, she doesn’t automatically equate them as Islamophobic but is “fearful” that people are painting her as anti-Semitic because she is a Muslim. Omar continued, “What I’m fearful of — because Rashida and I are Muslim — that a lot of our Jewish colleagues, a lot of our constituents, a lot of our allies, go to thinking that everything we say about Israel to be anti-Semitic because we are Muslim,” she explained.


“So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Rep. Omar exclaimed, seeming to suggest, as Tlaib had in a tweet of her own, dual loyalty among a particular group of Americans. Loud rounds of applause and shouts of affirmation punctuated the event’s heavy focus on Israel.

Jewish liberal Jon Chait tweeted in response:

Democratic socialist Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is not much better. Not only did she endorse Omar in August 2018 in spite of her well-documented anti-Semitical history, but earlier this year, Ocasio-Cortez bragged about an alarming new political alliance she’d formed with British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Not only is Corbyn an anti-Semite, but the party he leads is, too. When pressed on the issue at the time, Ocasio-Cortez feigned ignorance.

Was she asked anything about this in her interview with Rolling Stone? No. Perhaps because writer Alex Morris admittedly lives in her district and is obviously a big fan.

Both Omar and Ocasio-Cortez are indeed women who are “shaping the future,” but it’s a future that—if they don’t change course—would at best relegate Jewish voices to the back benches. Or, at worst in Omar’s case, do the unthinkable and wipe them off the map.

In conducting their pseudo-serious wide-ranging interviews with these two “difference makers” Omar and Ocasio-Cortez, Rolling Stone has solidified itself as willfully ignorant enablers of politicians whose agendas could ultimately prove harmful to millions of Jewish Americans.

They glossed over Omar’s past anti-Semitic comments that were made well before she was elected. They also didn’t press Ocasio-Cortez on her alliance with Corbyn—which is a pretty big deal at a time when the Democratic House leadership is trying to rein them both in.

Needless to say, it’s not a good look.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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