I should stress that this is a progressive talking point, not a Democratic talking point. Biden and Harris, who need to worry about satisfying a more centrist national electorate, were clear in recognizing that the recent violence in the U.S. and NYC especially isn’t a “both sides” thing.
The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop. I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad — it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 24, 2021
The surge in anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish community in the U.S. and around the world is despicable—it must be called out, condemned, and stopped. As a country, we must stand united against hate of any kind.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 24, 2021
Democrats from New York have also recognized it:
The kind of anti-Semitic attacks, like those reported over the last week, are disturbing and wrong. Intolerance like this has no place in New York or anywhere else, and it must be confronted and overcome.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 21, 2021
The dramatic rise of anti-Semitic attacks in NYC and throughout the country is deeply disturbing and unacceptable.
Any and all perpetrators must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
We will crush intolerance whenever and wherever it is found.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) May 23, 2021
Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio each issued statements on Friday denouncing violence against Jews, specifically. Noam Blum noticed, though, that the party’s progressive luminaries had trouble being similarly unequivocal. In fact, their denunciations framed the issue in strikingly similar ways:
We’ve recently seen disturbing antisemitic attacks and a troubling rise in Islamophobia. If you are committed to a future of equality and peaceful coexistence, please stand united against anyone who promotes hatred of any kind.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 22, 2021
I strongly condemn the rise in anti-Semitism and islamophobia we’re seeing across the country.
Let me say it again: our freedom and our destinies are tied.
The struggle for liberation and justice requires all of us to reject hate and division in any form.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) May 22, 2021
The work of dismantling antisemitism, anti-Blackness, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism, and every other form of hate is OUR work.
We will ONLY achieve collective liberation by leading with radical love. There is no room for hate of any kind in our movements for justice.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) May 22, 2021
The United States must work toward a future in which Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace.
Here at home, we must forcefully condemn anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks. Violence and hate only inspires more of the same.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) May 22, 2021
We’ve seen an increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic hate, in NYC and nationwide — hateful words, hate crimes, and other forms of violence.
We must stand together to condemn hate.
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) May 21, 2021
Bowman, who represents a district in New York, did issue a statement condemning anti-semitism specifically on Friday. As did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another New Yorker:
We will never, ever tolerate antisemitism here in NY or anywhere in the world.
The recent surge in attacks is horrifying. We stand with our Jewish communities in condemning this violence.
You can help. Take NYC’s free, 1hr bystander intervention course: https://t.co/NCHJxvVHbU
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 21, 2021
Ilhan Omar, meanwhile, denounced an anti-semitic attack in L.A. by placing it in the context of hate crimes generally:
Horrific and unacceptable. Nobody should face threats and harassment based on their religion or ethnicity.
This has to stop. https://t.co/9QUgNm39UB
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 21, 2021
Liz Mair suspects that the “anti-semitism and Islamophobia” talking point was circulated among the party’s progressive wing, but was it circulated *to* them or *among* them? That is, did the Dem leadership worry about progs going rogue on messaging about anti-semitism with Israel in the news and push a script on them to keep them on-message? Or did progressives themselves huddle and agree on a framing that was mutually acceptable to all of them? The American left is allied with the Palestinians; denouncing anti-semitic attacks in the U.S. this past week in a straightforward way would have antagonized some of their own supporters by seeming to place them on “the Jewish side” of the conflict, however temporarily. Whatabout Islamophobia? leftists would have shrieked at them.
Maybe lefty members of Congress put their heads together and arrived at the “anti-semitism and Islamophobia” formulation believing that a unified message would make the least political trouble for all of them. Imagine if, say, Julian Castro had condemned the anti-semitic violence while Bernie or Cori Bush or whoever had condemned anti-semitic and Islamophobic violence. Castro would have suddenly seemed un-woke by comparison, with prog constituents demanding to know why he didn’t condemn violence against Muslims too the way Sanders did. Better that they’re all pushing the same line.
Former New York assemblyman Dov Hikind noticed that leftists in Congress aren’t always so equivocal in how they criticize anti-semitism. When it’s a white supremacist rather than a Palestinian sympathizer who’s attacking Jews, they’re clear as a bell about who the victim is:
But what about when anti-Jewish violence is committed by other minorities?
Then suddenly not only don’t they name the source of hatred, but they broaden the condemnations against antisemitism to include ALL RACISM.
That’s the equivalent of BLM telling you “ALL LIVES MATTER” pic.twitter.com/Eob7WoZcTW
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) May 24, 2021
Correct. The “anti-semitism and Islamophobia” formulation is the left-wing equivalent of some righties dismissing the slogan “black lives matter” by saying “all lives matter.” It’s true that all lives matter, just as it’s true that violence against Jews and against Muslims is wrong. But in both cases, a minority that faces unique risks from a history of persecution is confronted by opponents seeking to diminish that uniqueness for political reasons. Given how progressives tie moral authority to race and victimization, as well as the tendency to map U.S. domestic politics onto the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, it must be intolerable for some to treat Jews as unequivocal victims in confrontations with Palestinian sympathizers even when one video after another shows Jewish Americans getting jumped by goons in keffiyehs carrying Palestinian flags. The best we’re going to get from the woke brigades on that is “anti-semitism and Islamophobia are both wrong.” Take it or leave it.
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