When the Vice President of the United States tells a student who falsely accuses Israel of "ethnic genocide" and criticizes aid to Israel, that she is 'glad' the university student expressed 'her truth', we are witnessing the acceptance of antisemitism in the United States, an acceptance disguised as the progressive mantra allowing everyone his own narrative irrespective of accuracy and historic truth
This is a natural outgrowth of the failure of President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to rebuke the ten Democratic Party members of the House of Representatives who abstained or voted against America providing $1 billion in aid to help Israel replenish its Iron Dome missile defence system.
Iron Dome had become depleted after successfully being used during:
- May: to destroy over 90 percent of more than 4,000 rockets launched indiscriminately by Hamas from Gaza into civilian-occupied areas of Israel and
- August: to bring down 10 rockets similarly fired by Hezbollah from Lebanon into Israel
Following overwhelming approval of the funding by 420 votes to 9 - with 2 abstentions - House Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro declared:
“This bill demonstrates that Congress’ commitment to our friend and ally Israel is bipartisan and ironclad. It fulfills our moral imperative to protect the lives of innocent civilians and helps build the foundations for peace.”
That moral imperative was however sadly lacking in 9 Members’ decisions to not approve the funding:
1 Republican – Rep. Massie and
8 Democrats - Reps. Tlaib, Omar, Pressley, Bush, Carson, Newman, Garcia and Grijalva
2 further Democrats - Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Johnson – abstained. Ocasio-Cortez clarified in a subsequent statement that she also opposed the funding.
Grijalva occupies a leadership position as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar and Pressley – dubbed the “Squad” – are part of a growing and vociferous group of Democrats in Congress critical of Israel and its policies. Bush and Newman both defeated more moderate Democrats in primaries last year.
Tlaib’s opposition to granting Israel the Iron Dome funding reeked of Jew-hatred:
“We cannot be talking only about Israelis’ need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system…”
However, the indiscriminate targeting of any civilian population – Israeli or otherwise - should be called out whenever or wherever it occurs. There simply is no justification whatsoever to condone or excuse such heinous conduct.
Pelosi had the opportunity to call out these 10 errant House Democrats during her Floor Speech after the funding was passed - but chose instead to gloss over this growing scandal within the Democratic Party:
“Passage of this bill reflects the great unity in Congress on a bipartisan and bicameral basis for Israel's security.”
Strong admonition of these 10 Democrat House Members by Pelosi for voting as they did was certainly warranted.
And Biden’s silence is breathtaking.
These 10 House Democrats had joined 15 more House Democrats in signing a letter in May calling on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to condemn the possible evictions of Arabs who refused to pay rent from four homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood – whose ownership by Jews was legally recognized.
The other 15 Democrat signatories to that letter - Reps. Pocan, Jayapal, McCollum, Chu, Rush, Connolly, Huffman, Johnson, Welch, Lowenthal, Escobar, Speier, Eshoo, Pingree and Dingell – nevertheless voted to fund Israel’s Iron Dome system despite their concerns expressed to Blinken.
These 15 Democrats could distinguish between criticising Israel whilst voting to financially support Israel in defending its civilian population from being deliberately targeted by Hamas and Hezbollah.
“I hope we can take this moment and opportunity to more deeply engage in and grow a true, substantive movement of community support for human rights around the world - which includes cherishing and respecting the human rights of Palestinian people.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s first imperative in building this international movement should have seen her voting with her 15 colleagues to help protect Israel’s civilian population, including Israeli Arabs of whose existence she may not even be aware, being threatened by rockets indiscriminately fired from Gaza and Lebanon.
Jew-hatred within the Democratic Party exposed by those 10 House Democrats’ votes needs to be rooted out before it becomes endemic.
David Singer is an Australian lawyer who is active in Zionist community organizations in that country. He founded the "Jordan is Palestine" Committee in 1979.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades