The Democratic Party’s New Apologists for Anti-Semitism

During the recent controversy surrounding Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, several Democratic politicians defended her by claiming she is not anti-Semitic but simply ignorant. Thus Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “I don’t think our colleague is anti-Semitic. I think she has a different experience in the use of words.” Christine Rosen comments:

In other words, [Pelosi and others are claiming that], like a misguided toddler who didn’t know any better, Omar should be excused for trafficking in age-old, hateful anti-Semitic stereotypes. It’s an especially ironic narrative for staunch feminists like Pelosi, given how patronizing and sexist the same remarks would have sounded coming from a man (or from any Republican). Omar’s supporters are arguing that Omar is too inept to understand what she is saying—and yet they still granted her a position on the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee? . . .

Omar traffics in well-known anti-Semitic tropes, and she knows they are anti-Semitic. We know she does because she has already had several “listening and learning” sessions with Jewish leaders from her congressional district and national organizations about precisely those stereotypes. Many of those leaders expressed surprise that Democrats were treating Omar’s most recent expression of anti-Semitism as if it had been a minor gaffe by a political ingénue rather than as part of a pattern of prejudice from a grown woman who knows exactly what she is signaling when she says these things. Everyone else seems to know what she’s saying— after all, the former KKK grand wizard David Duke tweeted his praise for Omar, calling her “the most important member of the U.S. Congress.”

In addition to treating Omar like a child, the Democratic narrative insists we recognize that she is also a victim—in fact, more of one than the people she is attacking because she is Muslim and is supposedly challenging the foreign-policy status quo with regard to Israel. It is true that Omar has been the target of anti-Muslim bigotry, most recently from the scurrilous lips of the Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. But she is the creator of the controversies that surround her, not the target. . . .

Omar has [thus] emerged from repeated controversies unrepentant and more powerful than before (and retaining her seat on the House Foreign Affairs committee).

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Democrats, Feminism, Nancy Pelosi, Politics & Current Affairs


Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood