“American Jews like to say America is different. We’re about see if that is true”

March 08, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left), has issued a fund raiser to her 4.3 million twitter followers to “defend” her fellow radical member of Congress, “brave” Ilhan Omar (right), following Omar’s latest anti-Semitic outburst

 

CHOOSING TO STOKE ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE WAKE OF THE PITTSBURGH MASSACRE

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach five articles (including one by Barack Obama’s former chief of staff) condemning the Democratic Party leadership for failing to unambiguously rebuke their own radical members for their anti-Semitism. (There are extracts first for those who don’t have time to read the pieces in full.)

The text of a congressional resolution that was initially intended as a condemnation of anti-Semitism, but was then so watered down as to become meaningless and finally passed last night, is being dismissed this morning as “a joke.”

Jonathan Tobin writes in one of the pieces below: “It not only avoided mentioning Omar, but was also turned into a laundry list of every conceivable sort of hatred (with the sole exception of bias against Catholics and evangelical Christians that has been demonstrated by many liberal Democrats in recent years). It was the moral equivalent of the response to the Black Lives Matter movement by some, who spoke instead of all lives mattering – a stand that most Democrats condemned.”

Although this story has been covered in the US press in recent days, about half the readers of these dispatches live outside the US, and the coverage in Europe and elsewhere has often been very misleading.

For example, in Britain, the flagship BBC “Today” program this morning deliberately avoided telling its audience about any of congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s repeated anti-Semitic utterances (for example, “Israel has hypnotized the world. May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel”). Instead the BBC made it sound like Omar was the victim because Jews and others had dared to point out that she was again deliberately choosing to stoke anti-Semitism in the wake of the Pittsburgh massacre.

 

KU KLUX KLAN RACIST PRAISES OMAR

It is not just left wing Democrat Party hopefuls Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who have leapt to Omar’s defense.

Among Omar’s biggest cheerleaders in the US yesterday were prominent racists such as former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.

 

“ILHAN OMAR IS HURTING THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE”

Unlike Bernie Sanders, some Muslims have unambiguously condemned Omar.

For example, Hussein Ibish, a scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington writes:

Omar's rhetoric is a disaster that reinforces divisive stereotypes about supposed Muslim hostility to Jews. As someone who has spent more than 20 years in Washington working on Arab and Muslim-American problems and championing the Palestinian cause, I implore Omar to learn more about the issues at stake. In the meantime, I have one thing to say to her: Please, just stop it!

See also devout Muslim Qanta Ahmed criticizing Omar’s anti-Semitism.

Max Boot writes in The Washington Post:

No one ever accuses supporters of the U.S.-Britain “special relationship” of owing allegiance to a foreign country. Nor do supporters of the U.S. alliances with Canada, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Poland or any other country face such accusations. Only supporters of Israel. This is an old and ugly anti-Semitic canard. It should be a no-brainer for Democrats to condemn what Omar said.

 

TONY BLAIR WARNS

British Jews are now being hounded out of the British Labor Party in droves.

The Democratic Party leadership (and Jewish members of the party) may wish to heed the warning of former British Labour Party leader and Prime Minister Tony Blair about how the anti-Semitic radical far left can take over a moderate liberal party.

Here, for example, is a radio interview with Blair on Wednesday.

-- Tom Gross

 

ARTICLE EXTRACTS

“THE METAPHYSICAL, CONSPIRATORIAL HATRED OF JEWS IS A SYMPTOM OF CIVILIZATION IN DECLINE”

Dominic Green writes in The Spectator (American edition):

When Ilhan Omar says that there’s too much money in American politics, she’s stating the obvious. That’s why I support her brave campaign against the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Realtors, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, General Electric, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Business Roundtable, the AARP, and Boeing.

These are America’s top 10 lobby groups, ranked by total spending over the last 20 years. In 2018, the US Chamber of Commerce spent $94.8 million on lobbying. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, spent $21.7 million and surged to Number Eight on the charts. [Tom Gross adds: Not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars the Gulf Arab states have poured into American universities and non-profits] The America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) ranked Number 157, and spent $3.5 million. Who knew you could buy America so cheaply?

Ilhan, that’s who…

The 19th-century British prime minister Viscount Palmerston said that great powers have interests, not friends. Omar’s notion that the greatest power in history is somehow beholden to a faraway state the size of New Jersey is a delusion. So is her notion that Israel, a state which has taken to best part of seven decades to set up a railroad network, possesses diabolical powers to ‘hypnotize’ the world. So is her idea that Israel’s supporters, Jewish and not, operate by making congressmen and senators ‘pledge allegiance’, like a militia in a failed state. This last might be Omar’s biggest delusion of all…

She denounces Israel and Saudi Arabia, who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood, but not Turkey or Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood’s sponsors. She may be ignorant, but she knows exactly what she is doing. She is furtive and duplicitous, and she is successfully importing the language and ideas of racism into a susceptible Democratic party…

The Democratic leadership tried to co-opt the energy of the post-2008 grassroots, to give its exhausted rainbow coalition an infusion of 21st-century identity politics. The failure to issue the promised condemnation of Omar shows that a European-style ‘red-green’ alliance of hard leftists and Islamists is co-opting the party. This, like the pro-Democratic media’s extended PR work for Rashida Tlaib and that other left-Islamist pinup Linda Sarsour, reflects a turning point in American history.

The metaphysical, conspiratorial hatred of Jews is a symptom of civilization in decline. … American Jews like to say America is different. We’re about see if those ideas are true.

 

“IT’S A SCANDAL SHE WAS ELECTED TO CONGRESS IN THE FIRST PLACE”

John Podhoretz writes in The New York Post:

It’s really not hard to get to the bottom of this: When you say that Jews have magical hypnotic powers to control other people, you’re an anti-Semite. When you say Jews control other people through money, you’re an anti-Semite. When you say Jews have conspired to force you to apologize for saying anti-Semitic things, you’re an anti-Semite. Ilhan Omar is an anti-Semite…

It is also true that Jews constitute 2 percent of the population of the United States. In 1950, we were 4 percent. Jews are shrinking in size, not growing. We are smaller, not larger, in number.

So what we have here in Omar is a member of a larger minority group bullying a smaller minority group. It shouldn’t be hard condemning such a thing…

Pelosi and Hoyer aren’t idiots, they know perfectly well what Omar is. The thing is, it matters less to them than being on the right side of their party’s young vanguard in the House…

If Omar were guilty of Islamophobia, as well, that too should be included in a resolution condemning her. Doing whatever you can to dilute a resolution against real acts of anti-Semitism in this fashion is called whitewashing.

No one started this conversation about Ilhan Omar save Ilhan Omar and her fanatical and obsessional expressions of the most destructive form of hate in the modern era. It’s a scandal she was elected to Congress in the first place, but that’s the fault of the voters of her district, and they should suffer for their choice by seeing her sidelined and their interests ill-represented…

 

“IT’S HOW SELF-DECLARED ANTI-FASCISTS DEVELOP THEIR OWN FORMS OF FASCISM”

Bret Stephens writes in The New York Times:

… Like many self-described progressives, Omar does not like Israel. That’s a shame, not least because Israel is the only country in its region that embraces the sorts of values the Democratic Party claims to champion. When was the last time there was a gay-pride parade in Ramallah, a women’s rights march in Gaza, or an opposition press in Tehran? In what Middle Eastern country other than Israel can an attorney general indict a popular and powerful prime minister on corruption charges?

But America is a free country, and Omar is within her rights to think what she will about Israel or any other state. Contrary to a self-serving myth among Israel’s detractors, there’s rarely a social or reputational penalty for publicly criticizing Israeli policies today. It’s ubiquitous on college campuses and commonplace in editorial pages. And contrary to some recent comments from Senator Elizabeth Warren, no serious person claims criticism of Israel is ipso facto anti-Semitic. My last column called on Benjamin Netanyahu to resign. Last I checked, the Anti-Defamation League has not denounced me.

Omar, however, isn’t just a critic of Israel…. [Hers] is also a case study in the insidious cunning and latent power of anti-Jewish bigotry – proof that anti-Semitism is not, after all, merely the socialism of fools. Omar, I suspect, knows exactly what she is doing. She pleads ignorance when it suits her, saying she was unaware that her references to hypnosis and “Benjamins” might be considered offensive. Or she wraps herself in the flag, sounding almost like Pat Buchanan when he called Congress “Israeli-occupied” territory. Or she invokes free speech, telling Lowey “our democracy is built on debate” – as if the debate she wants to force is as innocuous as a dispute over a spending bill…

The goal is not to win the argument… Ideas once thought of as intellectually uncouth and morally repulsive have suddenly become merely controversial. It’s how anti-Zionism has abruptly become an acceptable point of view in reputable circles. It’s why anti-Semitism is just outside the frame, bidding to get in…

In the Senate, the presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have weighed in with statements that painted Omar as a victim of Islamophobia – which she is – without mentioning that she’s also a purveyor of anti-Semitic bigotry – which she surely is as well.

It says something about the progressive movement today that it has no trouble denouncing Republican racism, real and alleged, every day of the week but has so much trouble calling out naked anti-Semite in its own ranks. This is how progressivism becomes Corbynism. It’s how the left finds its own path toward legitimizing hate. It’s how self-declared anti-fascists develop their own forms of fascism…

 

“OMAR IS ASSOCIATING HERSELF WITH CALAMITIES FROM THE SPANISH INQUISITION TO THE RUSSIAN POGROMS TO THE HOLOCAUST. THAT’S NOT HISTORICAL COMPANY THAT ANY AMERICAN SHOULD WANT TO KEEP”

Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s former chief of staff and currently the mayor of Chicago, writes in The Atlantic:

I’m all for new voices in the U.S. Congress. But lately, some of those new voices have been voicing some very old canards…

No one is questioning the right of members of Congress and others to criticize Israeli policies. But Omar is crossing a line that should not be crossed in political discourse. Her remarks are not anti-Israel; they are anti-Semitic…

Representative Omar is repeating some of the ugliest stereotypes about Jews… that calls our devotion to America into question.

In 2002, well before Donald Trump and other “birthers” questioned Barack Obama’s citizenship, I had to produce my U.S. birth certificate in my first run for Congress to disprove false assertions about my background and loyalties.

But it’s not just me who’s been subject to questions of dual loyalty. For centuries, this trope has been aimed at Jews in countries around the world. In embracing it, Omar is associating herself with calamities from the Spanish Inquisition to the Russian pogroms to the Holocaust. That’s not historical company that any American should want to keep.

Question my allegiance to this country [is] … just as wrong as suggesting that all Muslims are potential terrorists and should be banned from entering this country… It’s time for Omar to learn that lesson.

 

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY JUST TOOK ANOTHER STEP TOWARDS BEING CORBYNIZED

Jonathan Tobin writes in JNS:

… But while the Democrats are not yet the moral equivalent of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the British Labour Party, there can no longer be any doubt that AOC, Omar and Tlaib are far from powerless. Indeed, they have not only intimidated the Democratic leadership, but also demonstrated their ability to rally much of the party, including leading presidential candidates, around the cause of defending Omar from facing any consequences for her anti-Semitic hate. This feat calls into question not only the future of a bipartisan consensus on behalf of Israel, but also the future of the Democratic Party as a political home for centrist Americans.

But above and beyond the political implications of Omar’s evading consequences for her spreading of hate, this should shock American Jews out of any remaining complacency they might have had about the willingness of the Democrats to stand with them against anti-Jewish bias…

Three of the leading Democratic candidates for president – Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren – supported these claims when, while condemning anti-Semitism out of one side of their mouths, they also defended Omar and opposed any specific condemnation of her hate…

Equally disingenuous is the claim that the right is as guilty of anti-Semitism as the left. The claims that U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican members of Congress are also guilty anti-Semitism are bogus. There is simply no comparison to what the Democrats are enabling and even supporting from Omar and anything that GOP officeholders have done or said with respect to anti-Semitism.

The resolution that did pass was a joke. It not only avoided mentioning Omar, but was also turned into a laundry list of every conceivable sort of hatred (with the sole exception of bias against Catholics and evangelical Christians that has been demonstrated by many liberal Democrats in recent years). It was the moral equivalent of the response to the Black Lives Matter movement by some, who spoke instead of all lives mattering – a stand that most Democrats had condemned.

AOC and her leftist pals are setting the agenda for Democrats. This will have a genuine impact on the 2020 presidential race, which has already appeared to show that Democrats have been shifting to the left, and make it easier for attacks on Israel and Jews to become part of the campaign.

This ought to horrify the majority of American Jews who remain loyal supporters of the Democrats. But don’t expect many of them to take action or do anything to hold their party accountable. In this hyper-partisan era, most liberal Jews are more interested in defeating Trump than in confronting anti-Semitism…


ARTICLES

THE DEMOCRATS ARE BECOMING THE PARTY OF THE JEW-HATERS

The Democrats are becoming the party of the Jew-haters
A party and a civilization in moral decline
By Dominic Green
The Spectator USA
March 7, 2019

When Ilhan Omar says that there’s too much money in American politics, she’s stating the obvious. That’s why I support her brave campaign against the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Realtors, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, General Electric, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Business Roundtable, the AARP, and Boeing.

These are America’s top 10 lobby groups, ranked by total spending over the last 20 years. In 2018, the US Chamber of Commerce spent $94.8 million on lobbying. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, spent $21.7 million and surged to Number Eight on the charts. The America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) ranked Number 157, and spent $3.5 million. Who knew you could buy America so cheaply?

Ilhan, that’s who. In 2012, only Ilhan was wise enough to see that ‘Israel has hypnotized the world’. Now, only Ilhan is bold enough to say that American support for Israel is ‘all about the Benjamins’, rather than a mass of reasons religious, strategic, cultural, and sentimental. And only Ilhan has the integrity to double down, and say, ‘I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.’

The 19th-century British prime minister Viscount Palmerston said that great powers have interests, not friends. Omar’s notion that the greatest power in history is somehow beholden to a faraway state the size of New Jersey is a delusion. So is her notion that Israel, a state which has taken to best part of seven decades to set up a railroad network, possesses diabolical powers to ‘hypnotize’ the world. So is her idea that Israel’s supporters, Jewish and not, operate by making congressmen and senators ‘pledge allegiance’, like a militia in a failed state. This last might be Omar’s biggest delusion of all. She actually believes that promises mean something in politics.

Omar’s private thoughts are nobody else’s business. It’s not as if the doctors, Jewish ones probably, have ever dissected a brain and noted hypertrophy of the Jew-hating lobe. Words and deeds are what matters, especially in public life. In which case, anyone who claims that Omar isn’t, to use Nancy Pelosi’s formulation, an ‘intentional’ Jew-hater isn’t listening. Omar has herself apologized for what she admitted was the ‘ugly sentiment’ of her ‘hypnotized’ imagery. It took seven years, but shortly after entering Congress, she disavowed that ‘anti-Semitic trope’ as ‘unfortunate and offensive’. She also apologized ‘unequivocally’ in February after the ‘Benjamins’ episode. Her defense was that she was ignorant of the ‘painful history of anti-Semitic tropes’. She intended it; she just didn’t know what it meant.

Omar didn’t know that the language in which she expressed her malignant delusions was in the lineage of Jew-hatred in its Christian and European forms. Until she entered the national stage, she’d had no need to know. Omar’s malignant delusions are commonplace in the Arab and Muslim world from which she comes. They are commonplace among the leadership of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Hamas-friendly front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood which supported her Congressional campaign. And they have become commonplace on the left of the Democratic party.

Democrats now protest that the whites and the right have their racists too. In other words, they’re saying that two wrongs make a right. This is playground logic, and it ignores the imbalance between the two kinds of anti-Jewish racism. Firstly, no Republican leader ever posed for the cover of any other national outlet with Steve King, or Omar’s new Twitter chum David Duke. Secondly, the Republican leadership, no doubt hypnotized by the Benjamins tucked in Ivanka Trump’s suspender belt, is hostile to the white racist fringe, and the white racist fringe detests the Republican leadership. Thirdly, the white racists are nothing if not candid about their beliefs and their intentions towards the Jewish people. Ilhan Omar isn’t even honest.

Omar said she was against BDS when running for the House and then revised her position as soon as she won her set. She denounces Israel and Saudi Arabia, who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood, but not Turkey or Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood’s sponsors. She may be ignorant, but she knows exactly what she is doing. She is furtive and duplicitous, and she is successfully importing the language and ideas of racism into a susceptible Democratic party.

The buffoons who lead the Democrats are allowing Omar to mainstream anti-Jewish racism. The Democratic leadership tried to co-opt the energy of the post-2008 grassroots, to give its exhausted rainbow coalition an infusion of 21st-century identity politics. The failure to issue the promised condemnation of Omar shows that a European-style ‘red-green’ alliance of hard leftists and Islamists is co-opting the party. This, like the pro-Democratic media’s extended PR work for Rashida Tlaib and that other left-Islamist pinup Linda Sarsour, reflects a turning point in American history.

The metaphysical, conspiratorial hatred of Jews is a symptom of civilization in decline. So the inability of the Democratic leadership to call Omar a racist reflects more than the moral and ideological decay of a political party. Americans like to believe in their exceptionalism, and American Jews like to say America is different. We’re about see if those ideas are true.

 

DEMOCRATS’ REFUSAL TO CALL OUT ILHAN OMAR’S ANTI-SEMITISM IS JUST APPALLING

Democrats’ refusal to call out Ilhan Omar’s anti-semitism is just appalling
By John Podhoretz
New York Post
March 7, 2019

It’s really not hard to get to the bottom of this: When you say that Jews have magical hypnotic powers to control other people, you’re an anti-Semite. When you say Jews control other people through money, you’re an anti-Semite. When you say Jews have conspired to force you to apologize for saying anti-Semitic things, you’re an anti-Semite. Ilhan Omar is an anti-Semite.

Now what? Well, now nothing.

For a while this week there was a thought that the House of Representatives, where Omar serves as a freshman from Minnesota, might vote on a resolution condemning her anti-Semitism.

Then it was thought that maybe said resolution would come up for a vote but wouldn’t mention her name and instead condemn anti-Semitism generally.

Then it was thought that there would be a resolution that would condemn both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Now there’s no timetable for voting on anything.

What’s hard is bringing a resolution to the House floor condemning a representative’s bigotry when you don’t want to and you’re afraid of making people mad, even though what we’re talking about here is Jew-hatred. We’re talking about a member of Congress attacking a small minority group.

Yeah, I know. Jews don’t feel small, right? Jews are prosperous. Many Jews hold positions of power and authority in the United States. This is true. It is also true that Jews constitute 2 percent of the population of the United States. In 1950, we were 4 percent. Jews are shrinking in size, not growing. We are smaller, not larger, in number.

So what we have here in Omar is a member of a larger minority group bullying a smaller minority group. It shouldn’t be hard condemning such a thing.

Nope. What’s hard, or at the very least far harder than it should be: saying she’s an anti-Semite when you’re a Democratic member of the House. Or the Democratic leaders of the House.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, said she believed Omar’s remarks “were not intentionally anti-Semitic.” Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, said Wednesday that he didn’t believe Omar was an anti-Semite.

Pelosi and Hoyer aren’t idiots, and they weren’t born yesterday. I’d bet a million dollars – yeah, I know, we Jews and money; it’s always money – they know perfectly well what Omar is. The thing is, it matters less to them than being on the right side of their party’s young vanguard in the House.

Here’s another: Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, who told Politico she doesn’t think Omar is an anti-Semite. Politico makes much of the fact that Schakowsky is a Jew, and she is. She also happens to be a supporter and devotee of J Street, the Democratic organization that exists to criticize Israel and the pro-Israel community in the United States.

The very fact of J Street’s existence, and that Schakowsky herself survives and thrives as an anti-Israel Jew, gives the lie to Omar’s repugnant contention about Jewish control of the conversation on Israel and the Palestinians in America. That’s about the only good thing I can say about the views of J Street and Schakowsky.

About Schakowsky running interference for Omar the anti-Semite there is nothing good that can be said, other than that Yom Kippur comes up in seven months, and on that Day of Atonement she should beat her chest blue for her sins against her own people.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, another leftist freshman in the new Congress, spoke these words about the idea of a resolution against anti-Semitism: “We need to have an ­equity in our outrage. Islamophobia needs to be included in this. We need to denounce all forms of hate. There is not hierarchy of hurt.”

No, but there’s a hierarchy of the hate Omar expresses, and that hierarchy features Jews at the top, Jews in the middle and Jews all the way down. If Omar were guilty of Islamophobia, as well, that too should be included in a resolution condemning her. Doing whatever you can to dilute a resolution against real acts of anti-Semitism in this fashion is called whitewashing.

No one started this conversation about Ilhan Omar save Ilhan Omar and her fanatical and obsessional expressions of the most destructive form of hate in the modern era. It’s a scandal she was elected to Congress in the first place, but that’s the fault of the voters of her district, and they should suffer for their choice by seeing her sidelined and their interests ill-represented.

But how her fellow Democrats in Congress choose to conduct themselves with her in their midst is one of the ways they will be judged when the time comes for them to be judged – by voters and Higher Forces.

 

THE MINNESOTA DEMOCRAT IS BRINGING CORBYNISM TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Ilhan Omar Knows Exactly What She Is Doing
The Minnesota Democrat is bringing Corbynism to the Democratic Party.
By Bret Stephens
New York Times
March 7, 2019

There’s an old joke about upper-class British anti-Semitism: It means someone who hates Jews more than is strictly necessary. Ilhan Omar, the freshman representative from Minnesota, more than meets the progressive American version of that standard.

Like many self-described progressives, Omar does not like Israel. That’s a shame, not least because Israel is the only country in its region that embraces the sorts of values the Democratic Party claims to champion. When was the last time there was a gay-pride parade in Ramallah, a women’s rights march in Gaza, or an opposition press in Tehran? In what Middle Eastern country other than Israel can an attorney general indict a popular and powerful prime minister on corruption charges?

But America is a free country, and Omar is within her rights to think what she will about Israel or any other state. Contrary to a self-serving myth among Israel’s detractors, there’s rarely a social or reputational penalty for publicly criticizing Israeli policies today. It’s ubiquitous on college campuses and commonplace in editorial pages. And contrary to some recent comments from Senator Elizabeth Warren, no serious person claims criticism of Israel is ipso facto anti-Semitic. My last column called on Benjamin Netanyahu to resign. Last I checked, the Anti-Defamation League has not denounced me.

Omar, however, isn’t just a critic of Israel. As the joke has it, her objections to the Jewish state go well beyond what’s strictly necessary.

“Israel has hypnotized the world,” she tweeted in 2012. “May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Last month, she wrote that U.S. support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby.” A few weeks after that, she told an audience in D.C. that “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is O.K. to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Confronted with criticism about the remark from her fellow Democrat Nita Lowey, she replied: “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”

Under intense pressure, Omar recanted those first two tweets. But she’s standing her ground on her more recent comments. It’s a case study in the ease with which strident criticism of Israel shades into anti-Semitism.

For those who don’t get it, claims that Israel “hypnotizes” the world, or that it uses money to bend others to its will, or that its American supporters “push for allegiance to a foreign country,” repackage falsehoods commonly used against Jews for centuries. People can debate the case for Israel on the merits, but people who supports the state should have to face allegations that their sympathies have been purchased, or their brain hijacked, or their loyalties divided.

It’s also a case study in the insidious cunning and latent power of anti-Jewish bigotry – proof that anti-Semitism is not, after all, merely the socialism of fools. Omar, I suspect, knows exactly what she is doing. She pleads ignorance when it suits her, saying she was unaware that her references to hypnosis and “Benjamins” might be considered offensive. Or she wraps herself in the flag, sounding almost like Pat Buchanan when he called Congress “Israeli-occupied” territory. Or she invokes free speech, telling Lowey “our democracy is built on debate” – as if the debate she wants to force is as innocuous as a dispute over a spending bill.

As the criticism of Omar mounts, it becomes that much easier for her to seem like the victim of a smear campaign, rather than the instigator of a smear. The secret of anti-Semitism has always rested, in part, on creating the perception that the anti-Semite is, in fact, the victim of the Jews and their allies. Just which powers-that-be are orchestrating that campaign? Why are they afraid of open debate? And what about all the bigotry on their side?

The goal is not to win the argument, at least not anytime soon. Yet merely by refusing to fold, Omar stands to shift the range of acceptable discussion – the so-called Overton window – sharply in her direction. Ideas once thought of as intellectually uncouth and morally repulsive have suddenly become merely controversial. It’s how anti-Zionism has abruptly become an acceptable point of view in reputable circles. It’s why anti-Semitism is just outside the frame, bidding to get in.

House Democrats are now wrangling over the text of a resolution that was initially intended as a condemnation of anti-Semitism, with Omar as its implicit target. At this writing it is mired in predictable controversy, as members of the party’s progressive wing and black caucus rally to Omar’s side in the first open challenge to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership. In the Senate, the presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Warren have weighed in with statements that painted Omar as a victim of Islamophobia – which she is – without mentioning that she’s also a purveyor of anti-Semitic bigotry – which she surely is as well.

It says something about the progressive movement today that it has no trouble denouncing Republican racism, real and alleged, every day of the week but has so much trouble calling out naked anti-Semite in its own ranks. This is how progressivism becomes Corbynism. It’s how the left finds its own path toward legitimizing hate. It’s how self-declared anti-fascists develop their own forms of fascism.

If Pelosi can’t muster a powerful and unequivocal resolution condemning anti-Semitism, then Omar will have secured her political future and won a critical battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. At that point, the days when American Jews can live comfortably within the Democratic fold will be numbered.

 

“IT WAS ANTI-SEMITIC THEN, AND IT’S ANTI-SEMITIC NOW”

I’ve Faced the Charge of Dual Loyalty
It was anti-Semitic then, and it’s anti-Semitic now.
By Rahm Emanuel
44th mayor of Chicago
March 7, 2019

I’m all for new voices in the U.S. Congress. But lately, some of those new voices have been voicing some very old canards.

I’m talking about Representative Ilhan Omar, one of the newly elected Democrats who populate the 116th Congress. Omar has attracted much news coverage, and the condemnation of most of her fellow Democrats, for promoting some ugly tropes about Jews.

First, when questioning long-standing congressional support for Israel, she blamed the campaign money provided by pro-Israel supporters. “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” she tweeted.

After apologizing for that comment and acknowledging her need to be “educated,” she followed with another tweet, questioning the “allegiance” of supporters of Israel, intimating that we place the concerns of Israel above those of the country that we call home.

No one is questioning the right of members of Congress and others to criticize Israeli policies. But Omar is crossing a line that should not be crossed in political discourse. Her remarks are not anti-Israel; they are anti-Semitic.

Whether consciously or not, Representative Omar is repeating some of the ugliest stereotypes about Jews – tropes that have been unleashed by anti-Semites throughout history. She is casting Jewish Americans as the other, suggesting a dual loyalty that calls our devotion to America into question.

Maybe I’m sensitive to this charge of dual allegiance because it’s been wielded against me in some of my political campaigns. I’ve been accused of actually being a citizen of Israel. (That’s not true, although my father was an Israeli immigrant to the United States.) In 2002, well before Donald Trump and other “birthers” questioned Barack Obama’s citizenship, I had to produce my U.S. birth certificate in my first run for Congress to disprove false assertions about my background and loyalties.

But it’s not just me who’s been subject to questions of dual loyalty. For centuries, this trope has been aimed at Jews in countries around the world. In embracing it, Omar is associating herself with calamities from the Spanish Inquisition to the Russian pogroms to the Holocaust. That’s not historical company that any American should want to keep.

One doesn’t have to be Jewish to recognize the deep and abiding relationship between the United States and Israel. Yes, there might be serious problems with Israel’s democracy – just as we’re currently experiencing our own. But Israel shares fundamental values with the United States that most of its neighbors have never embraced.

In Israel, women can vote and serve in the armed forces. So can members of the LGBTQ community. Its Arab citizens can vote, form political parties, and serve in the Israeli Parliament. And Israeli women can drive – just as badly as the rest of the population.

As for Jewish Americans who support Israel as a friend and ally of the United States, we do so because we recognize the commonality of our values and national interests. And many of us don’t hesitate to criticize Israel when its policies are wrong – or to champion American interests when they come into tension with Israeli goals.

On my very first day after leaving Bill Clinton’s administration as his senior adviser in October 1998, I received a call at 5 a.m. from the president. He was at the Wye Plantation in Maryland, where he was hosting a summit meeting between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The president was frantic that the summit would collapse if he didn’t release Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. intelligence analyst who had delivered sensitive state secrets to Israel, as Benjamin Netanyahu was demanding.

Clinton was getting conflicting advice from his political and national-security teams. Some members of the political team thought Pollard’s release was a small price to pay for a successful agreement. But members of his national-security team were strongly opposed because of the serious level of the security breach that Pollard had orchestrated.

I told Clinton not to give in on Pollard’s release, believing that Netanyahu needed the agreement more than he did. The president followed that advice, and Netanyahu ultimately signed the Wye River Memorandum.

Later, during my service as White House chief of staff in the Obama administration, I spoke out strongly against Netanyahu’s policy of expanding Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories. For my troubles, Netanyahu labeled me (along with the presidential adviser David Axelrod) a “self-hating Jew.”

My allegiance to this country wasn’t in question then. And it shouldn’t be now – nor should that of other American Jews. That would be just as wrong as suggesting that all Muslims are potential terrorists and should be banned from entering this country. What president would possibly embrace such an un-American position – until the current one?

As mayor of Chicago, I denounced Trump for his anti-Muslim policies. I worked to make Chicago a welcoming city to Americans of all backgrounds, creating the Office of New Americans to help immigrants and refugees in my city, which has been a gateway for immigrants to the United States for generations. I appointed Seemi Choudry, herself the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, to lead that effort.

I often say that only in America could the son and grandson of immigrants become the chief of staff to the president and the mayor of one of its largest cities. I fully expect Muslim Americans to follow this well-trod path, as we’re witnessing already with the election of candidates like Ilhan Omar to Congress.

No doubt, such candidates will have to overcome allegations of dual loyalty and of taking campaign contributions from fellow Muslims with nefarious goals in mind. And when they face such claims, Jewish Americans like me will come to their defense – because we know the pain and potential damage of these bigoted stereotypes. It’s time for Omar to learn that lesson.

 

THE DEMOCRATS FAILED ON ANTI-SEMITISM AND ILHAN OMAR. DO MOST JEWS CARE?

The Democrats failed on anti-Semitism and Ilhan Omar. Do most Jews care?

Her party’s failure to condemn her was appalling. But partisanship will likely prevent most Jews from drawing conclusions about what has happened.

By Jonathan S. Tobin
JNS
March 7, 2019

Back in November, I wrote that the election of radicals like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) wouldn’t have much impact on the U.S.-Israel relationship. I reasoned that the trio of newly elected radicals would be backbenchers without power or influence, while the Democratic leadership of the House remained solidly pro-Israel and friends of the Jewish community.

But as the events of the last week have shown, I was wrong about that, especially in thinking that Democrats would speak out specifically against anti-Semitism if a member of their caucus acted as Omar has done.

Yet now that it has happened, I wouldn’t be surprised if their faithful Jewish Democratic supporters simply shrug it off.

The Democratic Party as a whole is shifting to the left. But with the bulk of Democrats, especially officeholders, still reliably pro-Israel, there could be no comparison between it and Britain’s Labour Party, which under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn has been captured by anti-Semitic radicals.

But while the Democrats are not yet the moral equivalent of Labour, there can no longer be any doubt that AOC, Omar and Tlaib are far from powerless. Indeed, they have not only intimidated the Democratic leadership, but also demonstrated their ability to rally much of the party, including leading presidential candidates, around the cause of defending Omar from facing any consequences for her anti-Semitic hate. This feat calls into question not only the future of a bipartisan consensus on behalf of Israel, but also the future of the Democratic Party as a political home for centrist Americans.

But above and beyond the political implications of Omar’s evading consequences for her spreading of hate, this should shock American Jews out of any remaining complacency they might have had about the willingness of the Democrats to stand with them against anti-Jewish bias.

What may be even more depressing is that most of American Jewry won’t take any of this seriously or draw any conclusions about it. That’s because history has taught us that liberal Jews will do nothing to hold the Democrats accountable for their shocking failure.

Omar had twice before issued anti-Semitic statements, one of which she had been forced to apologize for by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership. But her apology and disingenuous claim that she was unaware of the meaning of the anti-Semitic tropes about Jews controlling the world or attempting to buy off members of Congress were meaningless. Last week, she doubled down on her hate by spouting off about supporters of Israel being guilty of dual loyalty, another classic anti-Semitic trope.

Yet when some demanded action, what the Democrats did was worse than inaction. Much of the House Democratic caucus revolted at the idea of a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, even if it didn’t name Omar. They embraced Omar’s claim that she was the victim in this drama. Omar had singled out “Jewish colleagues” as being guilty of targeting her and Tlaib – another serial purveyor of anti-Semitism – for discrimination because they were Muslims. Three of the leading Democratic candidates for president – Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren – supported these claims when, while condemning anti-Semitism out of one side of their mouths, they also defended Omar and opposed any specific condemnation of her hate.

House Democrats backed down in the face of support for Omar from much of the party. Pelosi, who knew very well how insincere Omar’s previous apology had been, exonerated her of any intentional anti-Semitism. Democrats ignored the fact that as supporters of an anti-Semitic BDS movement, there was no doubt that the hate espoused by Omar and Tlaib was intentional and purposeful. The claim that their goal was to start a conversation about U.S. foreign policy or to speak up for Palestinian human rights is a blatant lie. As BDS supporters, their goal is Israel’s destruction and to delegitimize its Jewish supporters, not to merely initiate a debate about the peace process. The claim that supporters of Israel are guilty of Islamophobia is another brazen falsehood.

Equally disingenuous is the claim that the right is as guilty of anti-Semitism as the left. The claims that U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican members of Congress are also guilty anti-Semitism are bogus. There is simply no comparison to what the Democrats are enabling and even supporting from Omar and anything that GOP officeholders have done or said with respect to anti-Semitism.

The resolution that did pass was a joke. It not only avoided mentioning Omar, but was also turned into a laundry list of every conceivable sort of hatred (with the sole exception of bias against Catholics and evangelical Christians that has been demonstrated by many liberal Democrats in recent years). It was the moral equivalent of the response to the Black Lives Matter movement by some, who spoke instead of all lives mattering – a stand that most Democrats had condemned.

AOC and her leftist pals are setting the agenda for Democrats. This will have a genuine impact on the 2020 presidential race, which has already appeared to show that Democrats have been shifting to the left, and make it easier for attacks on Israel and Jews to become part of the campaign.

This ought to horrify the majority of American Jews who remain loyal supporters of the Democrats. But don’t expect many of them to take action or do anything to hold their party accountable. In this hyper-partisan era, most liberal Jews are more interested in defeating Trump than in confronting anti-Semitism.

Facing the truth about the state of the Democratic Party would force them to choose between their partisan interests and defense of the Jewish community. And that is not a choice that most American Jews are prepared to make, even if means supporting a party that treats anti-Semites and their enablers as rock stars. Along with the direction of a Democratic Party that just took another step towards being Corbynized, that is the sorriest aspect of this dismal chapter of American Jewish history.

 

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