The Meaning of Congressional Democrats’ Lukewarm Response to Anti-Semitism in Their Ranks

March 8 2019

Displaying little interest in condemning Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic comments last week, leading figures in the Democratic party instead watered down a proposed House resolution on the issue so that it only mentions anti-Semitism among a laundry list of other ills. John Podhoretz comments:

[A]ccording to the speaker of the House, the House majority leader, the House whip, the Senate minority leader, and at least three Democratic presidential candidates, Ilhan Omar is not an anti-Semite—and, in the view of some, people are saying so dishonestly for the purpose of shutting down debate on legitimate matters. Speaker Pelosi said Omar’s words were not “intentionally anti-Semitic,” majority leader Steny Hoyer said “I don’t think she’s anti-Semitic.” . . . The senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris suggested that Omar was the real victim here: “I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk. . . . I also believe there is a difference between criticism of policy or political leaders, and anti-Semitism.”

Let’s be clear here. Nobody baited Ilhan Omar into saying Jews were hypnotizing the world, or that Jews were controlling American politics with their money, or that Jews were engaged in a conspiracy to force her to apologize for her words. She said these things herself, on her own, without prompting. They have nothing to do with “policy,” or with her pain as a Somali refugee, or anything else. They have to do with her idea that evil Jews are manipulating reality. This is as anti-Semitic as anti-Semitism gets. . . .

Ilhan Omar is a despicable anti-Semite and rather than trying to find a way to separate themselves from her, the grandees of the Democratic party are actually, or effectively, or implicitly embracing her. This could be an inflection point in American political history—the moment at which the Democratic party decided that it had to choose between Jews and intersectionality, and chose the latter.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Congress, Democrats, Ilhan Omar, Kamala Harris, Politics & Current Affairs

Despite What the UN Says, the Violence at the Gaza Border Is Military, Not Civilian, in Nature

March 22 2019

On Monday, a UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry issued its final report on last spring’s disturbances at the Gaza border. Geoffrey Corn and Peter Margulies explain why the report is fatally flawed:

The commission framed the events [in Gaza] as a series of demonstrations that were “civilian in nature.” Israel and its Supreme Court, [which has investigated some of the killings that occurred], framed the same events quite differently: as a new evolution in Israel’s ongoing armed conflict with the terrorist organization Hamas. Consistency and common sense suggest that the Israeli High Court of Justice’s framing is a more rational explanation of what occurred at the Israel-Gaza border in spring 2018.

Kites, [for instance], played a telltale role [in the violence]. When most people think of kites, they think of a child’s plaything or a hobbyist’s harmless passion. In the Gaza confrontation, kites [became] a new and effective, albeit low-tech, tactic for attacking Israel. As the report conceded, senior Gaza leaders, including from Hamas, “encouraged” the unleashing of waves of incendiary kites that during and since the spring 2018 confrontations have burned thousands of acres of arable land within Israel. The resulting destruction included fires that damaged the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which conveys goods and gasoline from Israel to Gaza. . . .

Moreover, the incendiary-kite offensive was an effective diversion from the efforts encouraged and coordinated by Hamas last spring to pierce the border with Israel and attack both IDF personnel and the civilian residents of the beleaguered Israeli towns a short distance from the border fence. . . .

The commission also failed to acknowledge that Hamas sought to use civilians as an operational cover to move members of its armed wing into position along the fence. For IDF commanders, this increased the importance of preventing a breach [in the fence]. Large crowds directly along the fence would simplify breakthrough attempts by intermingled Hamas and other belligerent operatives. The crowds themselves also could attempt to pour through any breach. Unfortunately, the commission seems to have completely omitted any credible assessment of the potential casualties on all sides that would have resulted from IDF action to seal a breach once it was achieved. . . .

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Laws of war, UNHRC, United Nations