Anti-Semitism & the Democratic Party

JAVON PRICE: This week, Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) made headlines for her blatantly anti-Semitic Twitter posts implying that the sole reason the Republican Party supports the Jewish people and their right to live in Israel is because the party has been bought. Now, ostensibly, one might argue that she is solely referring to the impact that foreign lobbyist wield within the American political system as it currently exists. 

However, that naiveté is problematic insofar as it, at best, ignores the historical discrimination that the Jewish people have had to endure and, at worse, promotes anti-Semitism. For many, this attack was malicious and suggests that anti-Semitism in America has found its home within the Democratic Party.

First, it is important to state that obviously not everyone in the Democratic Party is an anti-Semitic bigot. Many of our Jewish brothers and sisters call themselves Democrats, including members of Congress. Additionally, Rep. Omar’s comments have accrued widespread denouncement from her fellow Democrats in Congress — reaching as far up as Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself condemning the freshman congresswoman’s remarks. Yet, anti-Semitism finds itself to be ever-pervasive in the Democratic Party in Congress — and even more so in progressive activism.

For example, take the Women’s March. The New York Times published an article in December 2018 explaining the division and overt discrimination that many Jewish women faced. While initially a movement founded upon concern of the Trump administration and its treatment of women, it quickly revealed itself to be an exclusive coalition fundamentally based in identity politics. The article describes Vanessa Wruble, a young Jewish woman interested in expressing her discontent with the Trump administration, being ostracized by organizers and participants of the Women’s March for her faith. This is especially stunning, given that Wruble named her faith as her primary motivation for marching to begin with.

Terrible as this incident is, it is not surprising in the context of Women’s March leadership. Leaders of the group have flirted with the ideology of infamous anti-Semites such as Louis Farrakhan: Astonishingly, Tamika Mallory, who is currently a co-president of the 2019 Women’s March, called Louis Farrakhan the “G.O.A.T.” (greatest of all time) on Twitter after attending a Nation of Islam event last year. This sickening allegiance to Farrakhan has sustained itself in 2019 as well, when, while on ABC’s “The View,” Mallory refused to condemn Farrakhan’s comments calling Jewish people “wicked” and “Satanic,” and even saying the Jewish people “thought they could trust Hitler” and “hekped him get the Third Reich on the road.”

Additionally, it is not just Democratic activist that have sought to isolate the Jewish community and condemn their fellow Americans for their faith. Many Democrats in Congress have sought to do the same. Besides Rep. Omar’s repugnant remarks, she is not alone. Her fellow freshman congressman Rep. Rashida Tlaib has found herself broiled in controversy just last week for anti-Semitic comments.

Rep. Tlaib’s support of a Palestinian rights activist, who equated Zionism with Nazism, catalyzed widespread condemnation from Jewish and non-Jewish Americans around the country. Moreover, Tlaib and her colleague Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are staunch supporters of the BDS movement — which seeks to boycott, divest, and sanction the Jewish state of Israel.

In short, the Democratic Party’s flirtation with anti-Semitism and the BDS movement are not only puzzling and offensive, but also counterproductive and dangerous. If we really seek to unite Americans and see our country prosper, we must disavow anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it arises, as it has no place in United States of America.

Max Magid