Liberals’ Anti-Semitism Problem Isn’t Going Away

The Daily Signal | 2/15/2019 | Staff
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David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of the forthcoming "First Freedom: A Ride through America's Enduring History With the Gun, From the Revolution to Today."

Anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist and Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar–someone who had previously argued that Jews hypnotized the world regarding their “evil” deeds–recently claimed that Americans only support Israel because of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s “Benjamins”–and then retweeted a person pointing out that she might as well call all Jews “hook-nosed.”

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Though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who put Omar on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, offered a condemnation of Omar’s comments, many progressives jumped immediately to her defense.

The problem is that “anti-Zionism”–the predominant justification for violence, murder, and hatred against Jews in Europe and the Middle East–is a growing position on the American left. Though Omar embraces the worst caricatures of this ideology, it’s her core contention regarding the Jewish state–not her clumsy “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”-style insults, which are just a manifestation of her underlying position–that is most consequential.

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One of the dishonest arguments regarding Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who we recently found out wrote a piece for a publication of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, is that they are merely being “critical of Israel.” Yet no serious person has ever made the claim that being critical of Israel’s policies is anti-Semitic.

Israel has had both left-wing and right-wing governments over the years. And like governments in any liberal democracy, they can be corrupt, misguided, or incompetent. Millions of Israelis are critical of their own nation’s policies every year without any fear of repercussions. Israel isn’t Iran or Turkey, countries that most of Israel’s critics never disparage.

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But the best way to gauge whether people are merely being critical of Israel’s policies or they are being critical of...
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