OpinionColumn

Why tolerate such behavior from the left?

Democratic Congress members known as “The Squad” have once again earned their long-standing reputations as antisemites.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) speaks in support of the “No Muslim Ban” bill during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 26, 2023. Credit: Phil Pasquini/Shutterstock.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) speaks in support of the “No Muslim Ban” bill during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 26, 2023. Credit: Phil Pasquini/Shutterstock.
Paul Teller. Photo by Keegan Barber.
Paul Teller
Paul Teller is the executive director of Advancing American Freedom in Washington, D.C.

In a nation founded on the principle of religious freedom, the scourge of antisemitism should find no quarter anywhere in America, especially in the hallowed halls of Congress. And yet we’ve seen and heard an alarming rise in antisemitism emanating from elected Democrat members of Congress.

In recent weeks, Democratic Congress members known as a “The Squad” have once again earned their long-standing reputations as antisemites. Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who previously lost her seat on the International Relations Committee for using antisemitic tropes, announced that she would boycott Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s joint address to Congress. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, claimed that “Israel is a racist state.” And Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib doubled down on the antisemitic remarks of her peers by accusing the Israeli government of “committing the crime of apartheid.”

Notably, aside from a day or two of negative headlines, there were no consequences for such disgraceful conduct. No reprimands, no penalties, not even a half-hearted warning from U.S. President Joe Biden or Democrat leaders in Congress. Why?

The truth is, most elected Democrats agree with “Squad” members. Yes, their hostility towards Israel is partly rooted in a general disdain for concepts like nations and borders, but it goes much further than that. They believe that Israel is, in fact, a deeply racist state (though Jews are not a race); as such, it has no right to exist as a Jewish homeland. This is why their antisemitism often masquerades as criticism of Israel.

Not all Democrats are antisemites, but antisemites, especially high-visibility antisemites, are tolerated in only one major party in America: the Democratic Party.

When it comes to combating antisemitism, the left displays a stunning lack of urgency and commitment. It is incredibly hypocritical for a party that bills itself as the party of “social justice” to constantly turn a blind eye every time its elected members spew antisemitic vitriol. The selective outrage and hand-waving excuses are not only a slap in the face to Jewish communities; they reveal a more sinister truth about the left, which is that it has become deeply racist in its own way.

Yes, the left still loves to post “Black Lives Matter” signs on their well-manicured front lawns. But at the same time, they champion the BDS movement that seeks to punish innocent Israeli citizens for the imagined crimes of the Israeli government. They defend racially discriminatory college admissions processes that penalize white (some of whom are Jewish) and Asian students.

The left needs to grapple with a simple truth: Either discrimination is wrong—at all times and against all peoples—or it’s not. The left has no moral standing to condemn racism against blacks and Hispanics on one hand, while on the other promoting and defending discrimination against Jews, Asians and other out-groups.

The left’s failure to address antisemitism taints its entire ideological framework. It showcases a fundamental lack of moral integrity and a willingness to compromise its principles when it suits its narrative. How can a movement that claims to stand against all forms of hate justify its silence in the face of such a pervasive and dangerous prejudice?

The responsibility of confronting left-wing antisemitism lies squarely on the shoulders of its leaders. Antisemitism has found a comfortable home on the left, and that must end fast. Lip service won’t suffice; action is imperative. A genuine reckoning with the problem means unflinchingly identifying and denouncing instances of antisemitism within their own ranks.

It’s high time for the left to rise to the occasion, purge the poison of antisemitism from at least its visible leaders and mouthpieces, and prove that it truly stands for the values it claims to champion. Anything less is an abdication of moral responsibility and a betrayal of the very principles the left purports to uphold.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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