Democrats need to get tough on anti-Semitic, anti-Israel rhetoric in their party

Jews should know better than most that hateful words lead to hateful actions.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in 2016. Credit: Lorie Shaull via Flickr.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in 2016. Credit: Lorie Shaull via Flickr.
Lee Bender

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in an America that would judge people by the content of one’s character. That was one of his dreams. But in large part, that dream is teetering.

The left/progressive movement engages in identity politics—a tactic that characterizes and orders people based on their race, gender, sexual orientation or other member grouping so as to provide a class of victims immune from responsibility for their own actions. While the ultimate goal of equality and anti-discrimination across the board is worthy, it is slowly ripping apart the fabric of our society.

But there is still one pernicious, ancient form of discrimination that is seemingly immune from these categories: Jew-hatred (i.e., anti-Semitism). Jews are considered successful white people who sit at the top of the privileged class, according to progressive dogma. Thus, they cannot possibly ever be considered as victims, despite consistent evidence that they and their institutions are persecuted, terrorized and attacked more than any other group.

The old anti-Semitism, openly expressed, went like this: Jews are demonic, evil and engaged in blood libels. The new anti-Semitism comes in this form: Israel, the nation-state of the Jews, is demonic, evil and kills babies. But if you single out only Israel—the tiny, sole home of the Jewish people—for opprobrium, delegitimize it such that it has no right to exist, then in the words of MLK again, “If you are talking anti-Zionism, you’re talking anti-Semitism.”

The situation has devolved now to the point that it has become acceptable to allow the barbarians inside the gate. What is happening before our eyes inside the Democratic Party is a shonde and will be a more horrific shonde if the 70-plus percent of Jews who vote Democrat don’t stand up and put an end to the reign of terror before it’s too late. Will they check their Judaism at the door and stay in the party, and “take the heat” on the altar of political correctness (and hatred of Republicans and President Donald Trump)? Or will they hold the party accountable, and stop giving support and their votes?

According to the Gallup poll (March 2019), while nearly 76 percent of Republicans said they sympathize more with Israel, only 43 percent of Democrats said so. The Democratic Party is now being steered by its most progressive/leftist elements, who have cowed and intimidated their majority and more mainstream members. They are embodied by the new, energetic, loud fresh faces of Omar (a Somali American and Muslim), Tlaib (a Palestinian Muslim) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Indeed, Rolling Stone magazine just put Pelosi, Omar and AOC on its front cover.

One Jewish Democratic congressman, Ted Deutch from Florida, did eloquently speak out on the floor of the House of Representatives to forcefully state that it shouldn’t be so hard to singularly condemn the anti-Semitism spewing from one of its members: Omar, a one-time refugee who this country embraced, but who expresses nothing but disdain and ingratitude. Among the anti-Semitic stereotypes she promulgated was the pernicious myth of dual loyalty, and that AIPAC served as a conduit for congressmen to buy influence (i.e., “it’s about the Benjamins”). Apparently, it was so hard to clamp down on her rhetoric.

Discouragingly, and unsurprisingly, the party caved in to their demands. Instead of issuing a specific condemnation of the anti-Semitic statements from Omar over the past few weeks—after her fake, insincere apologies that she was forced to make, couple with an association with the likes of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan—the Democrats issued a broadly based anti-bigotry resolution in which anti-Semitism was hidden among many enumerated bigotries (tellingly, Islamophobia made an appearance).

Here is the relevant section of who this anti-bigotry resolution is aimed at:

Whereas white supremacists in the United States have exploited and continue to exploit bigotry and weaponized hate for political gain, targeting traditionally persecuted peoples, including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and others with verbal attacks, incitement, and violence;

But why did there even need to be another motion about white supremacy and white nationalism when there was a specific one passed by the House only weeks before in light of Republican Rep. Steve King’s comments (H.Res. 41 Jan. 15, 2019), though admittedly even that took long in coming?

Omar was not named as the perpetrator and cause of this entire affair. Nor has she been punished—removed her from her coveted position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she is privy to some the country’s most sensitive security details.

The parallel “whataboutism” of the Republican Party finds that they stripped King of all committee assignments. Had a Republican made the hateful anti-Semitic comments that Omar made, I am sure that not only would the House resolution have condemned anti-Semitism in general, but named the member in particular.

Jews should know better than most that hateful words lead to hateful actions, and that accepting anti-Semitism is the tip of the iceberg and can lead to Nazi-like behavior. But it’s even worse: Many Jews have publicly spoken out in support of Omar, thus becoming enablers. If the Jews in the Democratic Party don’t stand up now—loudly, forcefully and decisively—the strength and security of the Jewish community, and the relationship between the United States and Israel is at serious risk. If Jews don’t get tough on this, it will be difficult for them to be tough on anything.

Lee Bender is the co-author of the book, “Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z,” author of dozens of published articles, co-founder of the website www.factsonisrael.com and co-president of the Zionist Organization of America-Greater Philadelphia Chapter.

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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