Democrats have been scrambling over the last few weeks to downplay a surge in anti-Semitic rhetoric in their party and on the left, with the rationale that such statements express “anti-Zionism” in defense of the supposedly oppressed Palestinian people and have nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Democrats and their media allies maintain such rhetoric condemns Israeli policies and does not reflect religious bigotry.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) just recently made this claim to backtrack on repeated public anti-Israel remarks, including that “Israel has hypnotized the world” and is an “evil” “regime.”
That statement came in the context of the Gaza War.
It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy is disavowing the anti-semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 22, 2019
With that said, it is important to distinguish between criticizing a military action by a government and attacking a particular people of faith.
I will not shy away of criticism of any government when I see injustice —whether it be Saudi Arabia, Somalia, even our own government!
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 22, 2019
This is nonsense. The claim that “anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism” is a fallacious argument to discredit Israel and weaken American support for it. Unfortunately, such arguments appear to be having an effect, since a recent Economist/YouGov poll found that only a quarter of American liberals think of Israel as an ally — down from the 36 percent of liberals who viewed Israel as an ally in 2017.
Sen. Chuck Schumer took a bold stand on this issue in July 2017 when he praised French President Macron for condemning anti-Zionism as a reinvented form of anti-Semitism. Schumer added: “The idea that all other peoples can seek and defend their right to self-determination but the Jewish people cannot; that other nations have a right to exist but the Jewish State of Israel does not, that, too, is a modern form of anti-Semitism, just as President Macron said this weekend.”
Schumer also condemned the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement as “a pernicious effort to delegitimize Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions” and a reinvented form of anti-Semitism. You can watch Schumer’s comments below:
Due to a surge in this new form of anti-Semitism, including in the U.S. Congress, it is time for Schumer and other congressional Democrat leaders to speak out again against this religious bigotry.
For example, two openly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic House members, Omar and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), were sworn in this month. Tlaib wants to do away with the state of Israel and renamed Israel “Palestine” on a map in her Capitol Hill office the day of her swearing in.
She also recently came under fire for making the notorious anti-Semitic “dual loyalties” charge against members of Congress who oppose the BDS movement. Schumer and other congressional Democratic leaders have said nothing about Tlaib’s anti-Semitic comments.
Even worse, not only have Democratic leaders ignored similar anti-Jewish and anti-Israel slurs from Omar, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently gave her a coveted seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a decision House Republicans immediately condemned. Pelosi took this action even though Omar casually refers to Israel as an “apartheid regime” and sent a tweet in 2012 that said: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
In a January 21, 2019 op-ed, New York Times writer Bari Weiss broke with her liberal colleagues by condemning Omar’s hypnosis remark, calling it “a conspiracy theory with ancient roots and a bloody history.” That seems to have finally gotten Omar to directly address the tweet she hasn’t taken down, but she still hasn’t addressed her record of repeated similar comments. Scott Johnson, co-editor of the influential conservative Powerlineblog, has described Omar as “an Islamist hater of Israel.”
Meanwhile, the refusal of leaders of the left-leaning Women’s March on Washington to repudiate anti-Semitism and end their association with notorious anti-Semites like Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan led many to skip this year’s march. This included Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who said she refuses to march “shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate.”
We are watching far-left, anti-Semitic radicals take over the Democratic Party. While I give Wasserman-Schultz a great deal of credit for speaking out against religious bigotry among the leaders of the Women’s March on Washington, her statement was an exception and she is not in the House Democratic leadership.
Anti-Zionism is not just another form of anti-Semitism. It is an attempt to normalize anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel, all to undermine Israel, one of America’s closest and most important allies. The Democratic Party should not be tolerating this threat to religious freedom and U.S. national security in its ranks.
It is time for Schumer to go to the Senate floor again and declare that anti-Zionism is a reinvented form of anti-Semitism. But this time he must also declare that there is no room for this bigotry in the U.S. Congress or in the Democratic and Republican parties.