June 18, 2005
The Democrats sign up with the anti-SemitesBy Richard Baehr
It is important that support for Israel in the US Congress is bipartisan. Israel, the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, has no real friend in the world other than America. The stability of that friendship, demonstrated by support in the Congress (and among the American people) over many decades, has been vitally important to help Israel withstand over 50 years of attacks by terrorists or Arab nations. Israel's foes ultimately do not want compromise with it, they have the goal of destroying the nation militarily, or de—legitimizing it politically (such as at the UN and various international courts and bodies, or in academia and among the "intelligentsia").
At different times in Israel's short recent history, one or the other party has been in control of the Congress, but the support for Israel has not depended on which party was ascendant. A major reason for the support for a strong US Israel relationship in Congress, and the fact that it has remained bipartisan, has been the work of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Regrettably, this bipartisan support appears to be slipping away. A year ago, I wrote an article titled Why the left hates Israel, pointing out how the biggest threat to the Jewish state today comes from the political left. But I noted then, that at least in Congress, where support for Israel might be a bit stronger among the GOP than among Democratic members, the fever swamps of anti—Israel hate had not yet reached into the Democratic side of the aisle, with the exception of a very few members such as Cynthia McKinney, Jim Moran, and Fritz Hollings.
So what are we to make of Thursday's mock Judiciary Committee hearing designed to impeach President Bush, conducted by Michigan Congressman John Conyers? The meeting was attended by about 30 Democratic members of Congress. Among them were Jewish members, such as Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, and Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowski.* As reported in the Washington Post but (surprise, surprise!) not in the New York Times,
So the Democrats in Congress are now giving voice and credibility to the view that Israel was responsible for the Iraq war. And other Democrats, watching the hearing at the DNC, are hosting anti—Semites who argue that Israel had advance warning of the 9/11 attacks and is therefore responsible for allowing the attacks to occur. And even deeper into familiar anti—Semitic tropes: that Israelis withheld the information so as to benefit financially.
This sounds exactly like classic anti—Semitism. These messages were not being conveyed on anti—Semitic web sites, or on Palestinian TV and radio on Thursday, but at a Democratic function from a meeting room in Congress, with more than 10% of the Democrats in Congress in attendance, and at Democratic National Headquarters. . In all likelihood, these outrageous charges are now being communicated and rebroadcast throughout the Arab and Muslim world, with the imprimatur and legitimacy of the Democratic National Committee, and the US Congress as the reliable source.
Until late Friday, no Democratic Party official or Congressman, had expressed any discomfort with what happened. Now, we have a statement by Congressman Barney Frank, saying he was out of the conference room when the bad stuff happened in the mock impeachment trial, and that he thinks McGovern's view are noxious. So too, DNC Chairman Howard Dean released a statement saying the DNC rejects the hate literature that was being distributed in its own office.
In fact, the activist groups that watched the meeting at the DNC, and handed out the moonbat conspiracy literature blaming Israel for 9/11, were there as guests of the DNC. No one at the DNC can claim that they were surprised that the "hearing" in Congress or the advocacy in their office took on an anti—Semitic slant. McGovern's views are well known (that is why he was invited by Conyers, presumably), and the activists were handing out their anti—Semitic literature openly to everyone in sight in the DNC office. Except for the fact that Dana Milbank, the Washington Post reporter, (and no friend of the Bush administration for that matter), described what actually went on in his Washington Post article, this story never would have surfaced and in all likelihood, no apologies would have been offered. That is, I think, because for an increasing share of the activist members of the Democratic Party, no offense to any of this would have been taken.
In the past few weeks, the obsessive hatred of President Bush by the left has led to some extraordinarily stupid and vicious comments by Illinois Senator Richard Durbin and DNC Chairman Howard Dean, among others. Dean claimed that Republicans do not need to work (62 million trust fund loafers apparently voted for President Bush in November), and that Republicans are evil. Durbin's comments were worse: that the treatment of a few detainees in Guantanamo was so abhorrent, that it brought back memories of the Nazis in the concentration camps, or Pol Pot's murderous Cambodian killers. Trivializing the holocaust is a mainstay theme of the left, from PETA's ad campaign comparing the holocaust to Americans eating chicken for dinner to the constant attempt by university professors to argue that Israel is behaving like the Nazis. Now Dick Durbin has joined this slanderous troop.
Democrats, to judge by recent events, appear to be losing their collective minds in some form of shriek therapy. Being out of power may do that to a party used to having its way for many decades in Congress. But there is one other possible explanation for the apparent insanity. With so much money concentrated in the hands of some hard left advocates (think George Soros, Hollywood, trial lawyers, internet millionaires and some union bosses), the Democrats may feel the need to feed the beast — to protect and cater to their hardcore base, so as to keep the money flowing into the political coffers for future campaigns. So the strategy is for Democrats to be completely over the top in their attacks — trashing Bush, America, our military, Republicans, and Israel, all of whom are targets of the activists, to keep the moveon.org and Dailykos crowds happy.
Jews voted almost 3 to 1 for John Kerry over George Bush in the 2004 election. With Bush having achieved a notable record of support for Israel in his first term, the explanation for this voting pattern would seem to be that Israel mattered less to liberal Jewish voters than abortion rights, the environment, social justice, gay marriage, etc. That is fine, so long as the Democratic Party and its candidates were at least supportive of Israel, and critical of anti—Semitism.
But when the Democratic Party sponsors what amounts to a festival full of anti—Semitic hysteria and Israel bashing at its own headquarters, and invites anti—Semitic conspiracy theorists in to address members of their Congressional delegation, then I think that the line of basic support for Israel has been crossed. Arguably, when former President Jimmy Carter invited filmmaker and Israel hater Michael Moore to share his Presidential box at the 2004 Democratic convention, the line had already been crossed. Or maybe it was crossed when the entire Democratic establishment treated Jew—baiter Al Sharpton as a serious Presidential candidate and respected member of the Party in 2004. Now, there can be little doubt.
Democrats, who still have their heads screwed on straight, and retain some sense of decency, like Joe Lieberman, and Steny Hoyer, need to take a long look in the mirror at the unraveling of their Party, and begin to do something about it. Whoever was responsible for allowing the Jew hating conspiracy theorists in the DNC offices to distribute their garbage should be fired. John Conyers should be asked to explain why a known anti—Semite like McGovern was invited to the panel's discussions. Why did no member of Congress attending the Conyers hearing challenge McGovern when he went off on his loopy theories? Not only Barney Frank owes an explanation and an apology to the public for such passivity in the face of evil.
The Israel haters, and anti—Semites believe they have found a comfortable home in the Democratic Party. If American Jews continue to vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats, then they will be casting their votes for a Party which is becoming indifferent to Israel bashing and anti—Semitism, and in the case of Conyers inviting McGovern to speak, even promoting these toxic views.
Just a few weeks back, Howard Dean blathered that Republicans were the white Christian party. The events in Washington Thursday suggest that in reality it is Howard Dean's own Democratic Party which is no longer interested in welcoming America's Jews.
*C—SPAN incorrectly identified Representative Lofgren as New York Representative Nita Lowey. Unfortunately, we picked—up on that misidentification, and included Representative Lowey in this list. Her office assures us that she was not present, and we regret our role in spreading the error.