“Antisemitism exists on the left and the right,” New York columnist Jonathan Chait informs his readers in a piece headlined “Republicans Have an Antisemitism Problem. The Democratic Party Doesn’t.” But, he goes on, “There is one American party that is currently healthy enough to call out and exclude antisemitism within its ranks.”
Sure, you might see leftists participating in the most virulent antisemitic protests in American history. You might read elected Democrats spreading blood libels and accusing Jews of dual loyalty. You might watch the leading liberal cable news network repeating Hamas propaganda, but all of that merely proves that Republicans have a serious problem on their hands.
Now, it should be noted that Chait doesn’t “call out and exclude” antisemitism within his ranks. He’s been whitewashing it for years.
When in 2021, I pointed out that Rashida Tlaib was peddling antisemitic tropes about people “behind the curtain” undermining a “free Palestine” by exploiting “regular Americans” for “their profit,” Chait called it a “classic example of right-wingers using the ultra-sensitive standards, with the least generous interpretation.” Right? Who doesn’t talk about wealthy puppeteers hypnotizing American patriots for profit?
Chait believes criticizing George Soros, the most generous funder of leftist causes in the world, sounds like something out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. At the same time, he believes criticizing a woman who pushes ancient tropes about Jewish power is a “classic overreaction.” Actually, now he contends that Tlaib — whose tweet falsely accusing Israel of bombing a Christian hospital filled with children is still up — “has never actually uttered anything a reasonable person would deem antisemitic.”
Even the ADL, incidentally, which is run by a long-time Democrat partisan, has denounced Tlaib. Is Jonathan Greenblatt not a “reasonable person” in Chait’s estimation?
Chait contends that Ron DeSantis has an antisemitism problem. Elon Musk, you see, who backed the Florida governor in 2022, also agreed with an antisemite’s tweet a year later. Chait compares this association to one Barack Obama had with his long-time mentor and close confidant, the racist preacher Jeremiah Wright. (To be fair, Wright wasn’t the only Jew hater Obama palled around with — but we don’t talk about that.)
One thing is certain: DeSantis, unlike Tlaib, does not use or excuse eliminationist rhetoric. “‘From the river to the sea,’” explains Chait, who hears white supremacist dog whistles in his sleep, “is an inflammatory and irresponsible slogan that implicitly creates solidarity with terrorism precisely because it is ambiguous and open to multiple definitions, but it is not per se antisemitic.”
“From the river to the sea” is the least ambiguous phrase imaginable. It quite literally and geographically lays out the genocidal aims of its chanters — from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, including all of the Jewish state, not just “occupied” territory. Using Chait’s partisan-addled logic, one could argue that white supremacists who chant, “You Will Not Replace Us” might not be talking about racial domination — you know, not per se — but merely about coexistence. Who’s to know, right?
Chait says that leftist antisemitism, what little of it exists, is “overwhelmingly directed in opposition to the Democratic Party.” This supposedly proves that the Democrats are the anti-antisemitism party.
No, this happens because the American left has a huge Jew-hater problem. Does any sentient human being believe that these protests wouldn’t be overwhelmingly directed at President DeSantis or Donald Trump — both of whom would likely be just as, if not more, inclined to back Israel? The only reason Biden’s modest support for Israel is undermining him in polls is because anti-Israel, oftentimes pro-Hamas, fans are overwhelmingly on the left, not right. That’s not hyperbole. According to a recent Harvard poll, 36 percent of “liberals” agree that Hamas attacks on civilians were “justified.”
Needless to say, the antisemites on college campuses who set up “Jew-free” zones and sign petitions solely blaming Israel for its own dead women and babies aren’t members of the Federalist Society. And the people tearing down posters of kidnapped children are never going to vote for the GOP. How many Republicans were among the 400+ congressional staffers or the 500+ State Department bureaucrats who demanded Hamas get away with the murder of 1,200 civilians — at least 30 of them American citizens? Probably not many.
Antisemites are welcomed in the Democratic Party. No one forced Nancy Pelosi to preen on the cover of Rolling Stone’s “Women Shaping the Future” with Ilhan Omar (and other Hamas apologists) after her antisemitic remarks were known.
To get around the Omar problem, Chait writes:
Well, the party made clear those comments were unacceptable. Omar apologized, and Democrats supported a congressional resolution denouncing them. That is how a healthy party operates.
No, they didn’t. The resolution passed by Democrats mentions Alfred Dreyfus and Leo Frank, but nowhere in the text is Omar’s name or any reference to her remarks mentioned. Democrats, as usual, refused to condemn antisemitism without watering it down with a platitudinous laundry list of every censurable hatred imaginable. As is the case whenever Jews are being attacked, the problem of “Islamophobia” dominates the resolution. The censure would be equivalent to Republicans condemning a right-wing antisemite by denouncing Stalin’s “Doctors’ Plot” and the 1992 Los Angeles riots while lamenting the prevalence of black antisemitism in inner cities. It was a complete joke.
There are indeed antisemites on both sides – and we should call them out. But while most of the worst right-wing antisemites cosplay as Nazis in front of Disney, full-blown left-wing Hamas apologists are now embedded in universities, major newspapers, cable news, liberal politics, think tanks, protest movements like BLM and the Women’s March, and in congress.
What they engage in is not causal or subtle antisemitism that needs deciphering. “Anti-Zionism,” girded by ancient tropes about Jewish power and influence, is the predominant justification for violence, murder, and hatred against Jews.
These people are not the dominant voice in the Democratic Party, but they are a growing one. It costs nothing for a left-leaning pundit to speak the truth. Unless, of course, they value partisanship above decency.