2020 Democrats normalize anti-Semitism by defending Ilhan Omar – Washington Examiner
Democrats seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination are starting to come out in defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar, and in the process, they are normalizing anti-Semitism.
Leading Democratic candidates Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren have all come out defending Omar and pointing fingers at her critics, despite a series of statements she has made targeting American Jews.
Omar has been unrepentant over statements she made lamenting the influence of Jewish money in politics and questioning whether Jews were more loyal to Israel than America. The bigoted statements perpetuated classic anti-Semitic stereotypes, but that is now what’s considered acceptable in the Democratic Party— as long as it gets subsequently laundered as mere criticism of Israel.
Sanders said “We must develop an evenhanded Middle East policy which brings Israelis and Palestinians together for a lasting peace. What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate.”
Harris echoed this, saying, “There is a difference between criticism of policy or political leaders, and anti-Semitism” and also arguing, “I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk.”
Warren also went a similar route, declaring, “Branding criticism of Israel as automatically anti-Semitic has a chilling effect on our public discourse and makes it harder to achieve a peaceful solution between Israelis and Palestinians.”
This, of course, is rubbish. Omar was not criticizing specific Israeli policies when she said, “it’s all about the Benjamins.” She wasn’t talking about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when she said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” She was spewing out hatred for Jews.
And cowardly Democratic presidential candidates, worried about being out of step with the party’s resurgent Left, are afraid to stand up in the face of attacks against the minority in the United States that has been by far the leading victim of religiously motivated hate crimes for decades, despite representing just about 2 percent of the population.
What’s especially amazing about the Democratic Party’s excuses for Omar is that she has actually improved her standing within the party by being more unabashedly anti-Semitic.
Last month, in the face of anti-Semitic tweets, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., demanded that Omar apologize, and specifically condemned her remarks as anti-Semitic. “Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive,” she said in a joint statement with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.” A big song and dance followed about how Jewish members were educating Omar about anti-Semitism.
Yet, after she followed up with more anti-Semitic comments, instead of coming down harder on Omar, Democratic leadership is backing off. Pelosi is now pushing the idea that Omar’s comments were not ” intentionally anti-Semitic.” Yes, I’m sure she just accidentally stumbled upon statements that happen to echo longstanding anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish money and influence, and Jewish dual loyalty.
Democrats tried to push a sham resolution generically condemning anti-Semitism that didn’t include Omar. But that proved too controversial within a caucus that is increasingly comfortable with anti-Semitism. So it’s now unclear if any resolution is going to come up for a vote at all, at least not without substantial changes condemning other forms of hate in a way that further waters down any statement it would be making about Omar.
All along, I’ve noted that this isn’t primarily a story about Omar, who we know is an anti-Semite. It’s about whether Democrats care about combating anti-Semitism.
The signal leading Democrats are sending is not only that anti-Semitism will be tolerated within their party, but the more unapologetic somebody is about their anti-Semitism, the more likely they are to be defended.