The House Passes a Weakened Resolution Rather Than Condemning Anti-Semitism

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) walks towards the House of Representatives side of the Capitol. The House’s resolution condemning anti-Semitism waters down the rebuke of Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic comments in a sea of condemnation against other hate.

By Michael Brown Published on March 8, 2019

Imagine this scenario. A so-called pro-life activist shoots and kills an abortion doctor and then turns himself in. At once, the media comes to me and asks, “Will you denounce this act of violence?” I respond, “I denounce this act of violence, just as I denounce all acts of violence, including the violence of war and the violence perpetrated on babies by abortion doctors.”

Would you be satisfied? Or would that strike you as a real cop-out?

What if I had said, “As a pro-life leader, I categorically denounce this murderous, anti-life act. There is neither excuse nor justification for this. It violates the very foundations on which our movement stands.”

Would that be satisfactory? I would think so.

In the same way, when a Palestinian terrorist slaughters Israeli children in cold blood, Palestinian leaders are often asked for official statements, condemning the violence.

The leaders often comply, but with statements like this: “I denounce this act of senseless violence, just as I denounce the acts of senseless violence committed by Israelis against Palestinians.”

Talk about losing sight of the unique nature of anti-Semitism in world history, which extends until today.

That is hardly satisfactory. It’s pointing the finger at others for their alleged wrongs rather than taking responsibility for the wrongs on one’s own side.

The House’s resolution condemning anti-Semitism is not much better. It’s watering down the rebuke of Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic comments in a sea of widespread condemnation of other “hateful” conduct.

Losing Punch and Focus

The resolution is seven pages long. It is devoted to “Condemning anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values and aspirations that define the people of the United States and condemning anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States.”

So, rather than directly rebuking Omar (herself a Muslim), this resolution also condemns “anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities.”

Talk about losing punch and focus.

And talk about losing sight of the unique nature of anti-Semitism in world history, which extends until today. (I address that in detail here.)

But this is only the beginning.

The bill was driven by Democrats. Because Democrats want us to believe that those who voted for Trump are primarily white supremacists, the bill also stated that “white supremacists in the United States have exploited and continue to exploit bigotry and weaponize hate for political gain, targeting traditionally persecuted peoples, including African Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, immigrants, and others with verbal attacks, incitement, and violence.”

So much for focusing on anti-Semitism.

Grouping ‘anti-Semitism’ with ‘Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry’

In fact, the next sections of the resolution address the crimes of “self-identified neo-Confederates, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klansmen.”

To be fair, the next 10 sections focus on anti-Semitism. They note that “anti-Semitism is the centuries-old bigotry and form of racism faced by Jewish people simply because they are Jews.”

And these sections do a good job of defining anti-Semitism, even giving some examples of anti-Semitism in history.

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The resolution also highlights why there was such an uproar about Omar’s claim that some congressmen were loyal to a foreign country (and thereby disloyal to America). The exact wording is, “Whereas accusing Jews of being more loyal to Israel or to the Jewish community than to the United States constitutes anti-Semitism because it suggests that Jewish citizens cannot be patriotic Americans and trusted neighbors, when Jews have loyally served our Nation every day since its founding, whether in public or community life or military service.”

Yet the next five sections focus on anti-Muslim bigotry. The final plank of the resolution “encourages all public officials to confront the reality of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry, as well as historical struggles against them, to ensure that the United States will live up to the transcendent principles of tolerance, religious freedom, and equal protection as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the First and 14th amendments to the Constitution.”

Again, to be fair, the first plank of the closing statement reads: “Resolved, That the House of Representatives — 1) rejects the perpetuation of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the United States and around the world, including the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance, especially in the context of support for the United States-Israel alliance.”

But the final plank again waters this down by grouping “anti-Semitism” together with “Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry.”

Is this satisfactory? Is this the right response to Omar’s dangerous rhetoric?

What if the roles were reversed?

Just imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and a Jewish member of Congress made a blatantly anti-Islamic comment.

How would American Muslims feel if the House issued a resolution condemning Islamophobia, along with “anti-Semitism, racism, and other forms of bigotry.”

Would they not cry foul, and rightly so?

This was the moment to confront the insidious, rising tide of anti-Semitism in America, not to group it together with other hateful and dangerous attitudes. Other forms of bigotry and racism can be addressed another day.

Not only so, but at a time when there is genuine reason to be concerned about the rising tide of hatred towards Bible-believing Christians in America — this has been well-documented — the House did not utter a direct word about this while finding time to address “Islamophobia” repeatedly.

How telling, and how unfortunate.

We shall see which direction things go in the days ahead.

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