Saturday, January 12, 2019

Tlaib, the Democratic Party, and Jew-Hate - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

The Democrats' silence in the face of vile comments by one of their own.

It’s fair to say that ex-congressman John Conyers (D, Mi.), who represented Michigan’s 13th district, was not a good guy. The octogenarian congressman willingly attended Farrakhan gatherings, signed on to anti-Israel legislation and was eventually forced to resign amid a string sexual harassment allegations. It’s also fair to say that his replacement, Rashida Tlaib, who identifies as “Palestinian,” is a walking train wreck by comparison.

In the hours following her inauguration, Tlaib demanded Trump’s impeachment, called him a “mother f*cker,” admitted that she used this language in front of her child, displayed a map in which the State of Israel was replaced with “Palestine,” insinuated that U.S. Jews maintain dual loyalties (this coming from a woman who draped herself in a “Palestinian” flag and garb during her inauguration) and implied that U.S. politicians are controlled by Israel.

This behavior is to be expected from someone like Tlaib, whose unhinged anti-Israel and anti-Semitic vitriol is well known. In fact, Tlaib is so anti-Israel that even the anti-Israel J Street withdrew support for her. What is surprising is the Democratic Party’s near-complete silence on the matter. The calumny of dual loyalty is nearly as old as antisemitism itself and is regurgitated with banal regularity by conspiracy theorists on the hard-right and left. Former KKK leader David Duke and Tlaib find common ground on this matter. Tlaib’s ally, the Farrakhan-supporting Linda Sarsour recently invoked the same anti-Semitic trope.

So why have Democrats remained silent? Why have they not issued a full-throated condemnation of Tlaib’s vile comments? There are three likely explanations, which are not mutually exclusive and often overlap.

First, many Democrats suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, which prevents them from assessing serious matters, such as antisemitism, in rational terms. Tlaib is anti-Semitic to her core but because she is a Trump hater, she’s given a free pass. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) falls into this category. She showered Linda Sarsour with praise despite Sarsour’s odious past and ties to Farrakhan. Gillibrand’s hatred of Trump is so deep-seated that she will choose to pair up and find common cause with sordid characters who share her pedantic views on Trump.

Second, fear is a powerful motivator and is effective at curbing dissent. Many within the Democratic Party are fearful of speaking their minds and challenging the new up and coming but still relatively small socialist contingent within the Democratic Party. This includes people like Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar who replaced Keith Ellison. Ocasio-Cortez is a key Sarsour ally and has been highly critical of Israel while Omar accused Israel of committing “evil doings” and hypnotizing the world. She is also a BDS supporter who lied to her constituents about her position on BDS prior to the elections.

Chris Coons (D-Del) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) who represent the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, and are staunch supporters of Israel have inexplicably failed to address the growing chorus of anti-Semitic invective issued by fellow party members. Their silence can largely be attributed to abject fear of provoking a backlash from radical elements within the party. The fascist left has been successful in drowning out voices of moderation. This is best exemplified by the so-called Women’s March organization where Sarsour and her foul-mouthed cronies sidelined and marginalized more moderate elements within the movement who desired more inclusivity. In fairness, Manchin did condemn Tlaib’s vulgar comments regarding Trump but he was in the minority. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) defended them.

Finally, the Democratic Party itself is metastasizing into an anti-Semitic body much the same way that Britain’s Labour Party has. The British Labour Party, taking its cues from its party boss, Jeremy Corbyn, is rife with Judeophobia and hatred of Israel. In fact, Britain’s Labour Party is so irretrievably anti-Semitic that many of its members have left or resigned in disgust. Every leading Jewish paper in Britain classified Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party as an existential threat to British Jewry and at least 40 percent of Britain’s Jews said they would consider emigrating if Corbyn ever seized power.

America’s Democratic Party is not the British Labour Party. In fact, it displays nowhere near the malevolence of its cousin across the Atlantic. Yet the seeds of Corbyn-like antisemitism have been implanted by the likes of Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and the king of Democratic Socialism, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt).

One of the more shocking instances of Jew-hate from the Democratic Party did not originate with the Democratic Socialist contingent. It occurred during Trump’s hard-fought battle to have Kenneth L. Marcus confirmed as assistant secretary of education for civil rights and involved Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash). Marcus, whose impressive curriculum vitae rendered him more than qualified for the job witnessed intensive Democratic efforts to have his appointment thwarted. He has been vocal in his criticism of the anti-Semitic BDS campaign and believes that the Department of Education should be more pro-active in combatting the scourge antisemitism, which has become pervasive on college campuses thanks to the presence of anti-Semitic groups like Students for Justice in Palestine.
During an exchange between a Marcus supporter and a senior aide to Murray, the Murray staffer reportedly said “We do not care about anti-Semitism in this office.” Murry’s communication director later characterized the quote as inaccurate but the denial is highly suspect. This rancid view has taken hold within the extreme elements of the Democratic Party and traces of it have filtered into mainstream Democratic Party discourse. If this deleterious trend remains unchecked, the Democratic Party will without question transform into the party of Jeremy Corbyn, and that would be disastrous for all Americans.   

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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