In a recent vote by the Senate Health, Labor, and Pensions Committee concerning the appointment of Kenneth Marcus to the position of assistant secretary of education for civil rights, all the Democrats present opposed Marcus’s nomination; they were narrowly defeated by a Republican majority of one. Marcus has spent the past few years focused on combating anti-Semitism, which, to Jonathan Marks, is precisely what provoked the Democrats’ hostility:
Explaining the controversy over Marcus’s nomination, the New York Times led with an event at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. . . . The Associated Students of Madison’s Council last year advanced a resolution to aid an anti-Israel divestment effort on the second day of Passover, over the objections of the sole Jewish representative. In the course of the debate over the resolution, the concerns of Jewish students were not only dismissed but also ridiculed.
Marcus’s crime here is that he wrote a letter urging, among other things, that some of the students responsible be disciplined for their behavior. We are supposed to believe, I suppose, that this letter is a sign that Marcus has an authoritarian streak. But in fact, the student judiciary at the university, not exactly a bastion of the alt-right, determined that, in the case in question, “Jewish students were the subject of discrimination by their elected representatives.” . . .
In other words, if the New York Times is to be believed, Democrats stood against Marcus because he is not far enough to the left of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of the most left-leaning universities in a universe of left-leaning higher-education institutions. He is just too damned hard on anti-Semitism. . . .
The Democrats [on the Senate committee] knew that they did not have the votes to block Marcus. So their vote was symbolic. But what does it symbolize that a mainstream Republican appointee with an extraordinary record of combating anti-Semitism, and a respectable record of combating other forms of discrimination and hatred, merited not one Democratic vote? The only answer I can think of is this: it is all right to say you are against anti-Semitism, but it is unacceptable to act too vigorously against it. Such action offends those on the left who will tolerate no opposition to their mission to demonize the Jewish state. Democrats, sure of [the support of] their Jews, seem determined to hold on to those who do Jews harm.