Why I will register my discontent with Islamist Jew-hatred, American style, in 2020

I was a lifelong Democrat, until recently. But a proud Midwesterner like me can no longer tolerate the bigotry promoted by our representatives.

August 26, 2019 21:28
2 minute read.
Why I will register my discontent with Islamist Jew-hatred, American style, in 2020

U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) react as they discuss travel restrictions to Palestine and Israel during a news conference at the Minnesota State Capitol Building in St Paul, Minnesota, August 19, 2019. (photo credit: CAROLINE YANG/REUTERS)

As both an American and resident of the great state of Michigan, I am doubly chagrined by the scandalous behavior of one of my state’s representatives to the US Congress, Rashida Tlaib, such that she has been banned from the State of Israel. Something is wrong when a democratically elected official stands in violation of the laws of another, allied democracy in this way.

How can it be that a popular American politician is deemed unfit to be admitted to the Jewish state? And what should it mean for American voters, especially those who recognize the kind of virulent antisemitism endemic to the Middle East when they see it, and don’t want it spread to North America?

BDS is an antisemitic movement to wipe out Israel, and Tlaib supports it. According to Israeli law, she therefore should not be admitted to the country. With this law, the Israelis say: “If you are working to destroy us, don’t do it here.” BDS spreads hate from the Middle East to the American Midwest. Don’t do it here either, I say.

As to Ilhan Omar, also recently banned by the Israelis, she represents a district in Minnesota, a neighboring state to mine. Her pronouncements about Jews have been no less alarming. Qanta Ahmed, the anti-extremist, reformist Muslim political commentator, has even likened Omar’s views to those of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) proposed designating as a terrorist organization in 2015.

What is going on in my neighborhood, Midwesterners like me are asking.

And what’s going on with the Democratic Party?

It is important to note that Omar and Tlaib are products of intersectional feminism, also known as “Fourth Wave” feminism. They are designated carriers of anti-Israelism in the American government for this precise reason. Feminism cannot be openly questioned in American politics, and they are now the leading representatives in the popular imagination of its most advanced form.

In other words, feminism as it is currently conceived has become the key source of BDS activism. The reason for this is that “intersectionality” has become its prime value, and being virtuous according to this ideology means gesturing toward as many forms of grievance as possible at all times. These “women of color” thus serve as standard bearers of victimized oppression in ways difficult to imagine male representatives doing.

Moreover, both Omar and Tlaib are of course members of the Democratic Party. Until recently a lifelong Democrat myself, I have resigned my membership in a party that harbors anti-Israel bigots, and that I no longer trust to pursue America’s best interests in foreign policy.

Antisemitism is one of the world’s oldest hatreds and, more than that, a paranoid worldview. It has no place in the politics of the greatest nation on earth. Unless and until the Democrats make it clear that they understand this, they will not have my vote. It’s as simple as that.

Unlike Obama’s redline in Syria, this bright line will not be crossed. I look forward to registering my discontent with Islamist Jew-hatred, American style, in 2020.

Gabriel Noah Brahm is Director of Michigan’s Center for Academic and Intellectual Freedom and Senior Research Fellow at University of Haifa’s Institute for the Study of Zionism.

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