Conservatives are justly appalled by the unprecedented and horrific attacks on Israel by Hamas over the weekend, which have so far left at least 1,100 dead and thousands wounded. Unfortunately, the first instinct of too many in signaling their outrage and support for the Jewish state is to count as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic anyone who fails to match their zeal.
“The most urgent question for Americans is how the Biden Administration will react. I do not hesitate [to] go on record with the view that Biden has long been anti-Israel, and is likely a closet anti-Semite. At a minimum we should cut off all U.S. aid to Gaza; Republicans in Congress should demand this. Expect the worst from our State Department.”
This is the view of Steven Hayward at Powerline. To the extent Hayward believes the Israeli government should take retaliatory action against the guerilla attacks on its population coming from Hamas activists inside the Gaza Strip, I’m entirely in agreement. Like Hayward, I find this attack on hapless civilians to be dastardly and vicious, and I support Israeli efforts to go after the perpetrators, who seem to have been proxies for the Iranian government. There is nothing in my following critique of Hayward’s stance that should call into question where I stand on Hamas terrorism or the responsibility of the Israelis to retaliate.
Nonetheless, I have to wonder about what Hayward is going “on record” asserting. What evidence does he have that Biden is explicitly “anti-Israel,” as opposed to inept in dealing with the Middle East, which is at least partly due to partisan interests at home? Is Biden even more anti-Saudi Arabian than anti-Israeli because he refused last year to shake hands with the Saudi Crown Prince before begging him for more oil, after closing down American energy sources? Hayward seems to assume that Biden has given special attention to offending the Israelis because (well!) he’s a “closet anti-Semite.” How exactly has Hayward unearthed this damning knowledge? Perhaps he’s been doing research on Biden’s inner thoughts? Or perhaps Hayward means to tell us that Biden has not leaned strongly enough toward Israel?
That of course is a different problem and one that has nothing to do with Biden’s alleged anti-Semitism. Republican activists seem to think by calling an “anti-Semite” anyone who is not one thousand percent behind the Israeli government all of the time Jewish voters and funders will flock to their banners. Jewish voters generally vote for Democrats despite Republican ingratiation may be a sign that other things may have to transpire first before such recruitment is possible. It may also be the case that the percentage of the Jewish vote garnered by the GOP will stay where it is now, which is at about 30 percent.
I have also noticed that the ostentatious affection GOP advocates show in speaking about blacks and their condemnation of the Democrats as the party of slavery and segregation have not significantly raised the Republican share of the black vote. In 2022 that yield was less than 10 percent, although sometimes it has crept up by a few points from that base level, before going back down again.
Lest I hide my point here, let me make it pellucid: Republicans and the conservative establishment behave quite clumsily and even comically in the way they pursue certain voting blocs. Their ranting against anti-Semitic and pro-segregation Democrats sometimes makes me wonder whether they are just as unprincipled as their opponents in pandering to “victimized” ethnicities
Getting back to the anti-Semitism rap being inflicted on Biden, a subject on which Mark Levin went viral in July, can’t we say for the sake of accuracy that rather than being an anti-Semite, Biden is actually just a remarkably incompetent and dishonest chief executive? Everything he does leads in one way or another to disaster, like paying billions of dollars to the Iranian sponsors of international terror, possibly in order to get them to sell us their oil, after Biden closed pipelines and limited drilling in the United States. But Joe’s unfitness for office doesn’t make him the latest reincarnation of Adolf Hitler. If he really is against the Jews, why has this ominous fact eluded the multitude of Jewish supporters who are rushing to his defense?
When former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy decided to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the congressional Foreign Relations Committee, couldn’t he find a more serious reason for this move (if he was determined to make it) than the congresswoman’s alleged anti-Semitism? Ilhan seems to be an emotionally unhinged creature beloved by radical voters in the Twin Cities, and almost everything she says makes me cringe. But the fact that she criticized the American Israeli lobby is not exactly proof that she’s a raging anti-Semite who specifically for that reason is unfit to sit on a congressional committee. Omar “harbors bias against Israel and the Jewish people,” according to McCarthy, and therefore should not be allowed to hold her committee seat. But if McCarthy believed that by pinning the anti-Semitic label on this mouthy shrew, he was convincing Jewish Democrats to join his party, please show me the evidence that he succeeded. I can’t find any.
There is of course a difference in how Democrats and Republicans appeal to ethnic blocs. The Democrats are good at this game while the Republicans fall on their faces when they try it. Perhaps Republicans should learn from their failure not to imitate the other side’s shameful divisive behavior.