It shouldn’t be hard to condemn anti-Semitism. Yet, Jacky Rosen, Catherine Cortez Masto, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford refused to do that last week when asked about remarks from Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
At a February event, Omar implied that Jewish Americans have a dual loyalty between the United States and Israel.
“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Omar said in reference to Israel.
Funny how she’s not concerned that advocating an alliance between Great Britain and the United States is a sign that Americans of British descent have dual loyalty.
She’s worried only about Jewish-Americans. There’s an easy explanation for that. Charges of dual loyalty are attempts to evoke anti-Semitic imagery that goes back thousands of years, and Omar is an anti-Semite who frequently says anti-Semitic things. Just last month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced Omar to issue a half-hearted apology after suggesting that Jewish lobbyists were buying support for Israel. Omar even once tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world.”
Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks aren’t innocent mistakes. They’re a reflection of her beliefs, and they demand condemnation. Rep. Dina Titus, a fellow Democrat, didn’t hesitate.
“Accusing Jews who live in the United States of having a dual-loyalty is an old anti-Semitic trope that is hurtful and wrong,” Titus said.
Yet Titus was the only member of Nevada’s congressional delegation willing to oppose her bigotry. Sen. Cortez Masto, Sen. Rosen, Rep. Lee and Rep. Horsford didn’t respond to a call and email for comment sent Wednesday. Neither did Sen. Rosen — a former synagogue president. Google and Twitter searches didn’t turn up anything either.
There’s a reason for their silence — politics. Many Democrats are now winking at anti-Semitism. Some are actively defending it.
“There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’ It’s more personal with her,” Rep. James Clyburn, D- S.C., said of Omar. “I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.”
Imagine the reaction if a Republican dismissed the suffering of Holocaust survivors so offhandedly. It should be obvious that having a painful experience doesn’t give you a pass to say hateful things about another group of people. That’s a principle at odds, however, with the ideology of identity politics that permeates the Democratic Party.
Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris went on the attack. “I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk,” Harris said.
Don’t worry about the anti-Semitic comments themselves. Worry that pointing out the anti-Semitic comments are putting the anti-Semite at risk. Come on.
The mainstream media rightly exploded after President Donald Trump said morally repugnant things about the white supremacists in Charlottesville. Then-Speaker Paul Ryan was one of many Republican leaders who condemned Trump, saying the president “messed up.” Watch the media now downplay the defense of anti-Semitism by Harris and other Democrat presidential hopefuls.
House Democratic leaders had planned to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism. After internal objections, Democrats settled on a resolution condemning many forms of hate, including anti-Semitism.
The message — just like the one sent by most of Nevada’s congressional Democrats — was clear. Democrats aren’t willing to fully embrace anti-Semitism, but they aren’t united around the need to call it out either.
Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 9 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790 Talk Now. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.