Nothing New Under the Sun

Hating the Jews has been cool as long as Jews have been a thing.  History is littered with attempts to obliterate the religion and its adherents.  One might think that a few millennia of failing to get these people off the planet would have convinced their detractors to give up the effort by now.  And yet, in an obscene parody of the Ecclesiastes verse I cribbed for the title of this piece, antisemitism is back in vogue; not just in the usual fun places, like Tehran and Dearborn, but the United States House of Representatives.

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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is leading the effort to bring Nazi back.  The newly-minted Congressperson hasn’t exactly made a secret of her antisemitism, proud of her associations with notorious bigots like Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Louis Farrakhan.  Her public pronunciations on Jewish-related topics leave little to the imagination.  “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” she tweeted back in 2012, launching a long run of appalling comments which led up to this past weekend’s clapback to her critics: "It's all about the Benjamins baby!” - a none-too-subtle setup for the punchline, in which she identified the bagmen behind the criticism: "AIPAC!"

In the “woke” era, in which conservatives can merely suggest illegal immigration might be a problem and then count the moments until they’re being smeared as racists, the heaviest penalty Omar is likely to face for her hate speech will likely be the chiding issued by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  Pelosi declared “Congresswoman Omar's use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel's supporters is deeply offensive.”  I doubt Omar lost any sleep to the deep psychological wounds inflicted by a somewhat strongly-worded press release. 

And she clearly healed up all right, feeling well enough to qualify her apology for invoking one of the ugliest of anti-Semitic stereotypes, “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes..this is why I unequivocally apologize.” “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry."  Considering how the left feels about the NRA and the fossil fuel industry, that’s the equivalent of saying “Dreadfully sorry if I upset these serial killers.”  Furthermore, someone should inform Ms. Omar that that’s not what “unequivocally” means.

Fortunately for Omar, the Democrats have decided to see how nailing an anti-Semitic plank to the party’s platform will play out.  Omar will escape any real consequences for her blatant Jew-baiting; she’s even keeping her spot on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  Her defenders have ranged from the media glitterati like, who dismissed her remarks as “moderately ill-advised,” to raging anti-Semites, like the aforementioned Sarsour, who insisted that support for Israel is unrelated to anti-Semitism, while blowing the anti-Semitic dog whistle in attacking AIPAC’s finances: “Critiques of the State of Israel ARE NOT antisemitic. Calling out AIPAC is not antisemitic.”  Who better to define anti-Semitism than someone who thinks the lone Jewish state in 2500 years should be wiped off the map?    And I can’t leave out Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), whose own anti-Semitism has been well documented, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Both stood up to be counted with Omar.  Difficult to miss the presence of the Democratic Party’s three brightest new stars, shining together in defense of the indefensible, and blinding their fellow liberals to what they’re defending.

Whether it’s AIPAC’s money, Israel’s right to exist, or even Jews as a culture, the fact that the Democrats are openly debating those topics, as if they’re topics worthy of debate, is a dead giveaway that a great many of them lean more to Omar’s side than they’re willing to admit.AIPAC spent $3.5 million pushing their message in 2018, barely over a tenth of what Planned Parenthood shoveled into the Beltway maw.Israel’s existence seems to be a settled question, despite the dreams of Omar’s friends in hate- and worse - groups like the Nation of Islam and Hamas.And Jewish culture probably deserves a pass for being insular.3000 years of being blamed for everything from plagues to parking tickets would make anyone a little skittish.And yet, it’s 2019, and anti-Semitism is making another comeback.