By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) Freshmen Democratic lawmakers Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) have a well-established history during their short time in office making what reasonable people consider extremely anti-Semitic remarks.
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Whenever the subject turns to Israel, both are generally among the first members of the U.S. Congress to oppose any of the Trump administration’s outreach efforts to bolster America’s partnership with the Jewish state.
They opposed President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, as the past three U.S. presidents have promised to do but did not deliver. They have supported Left-wing efforts to push corporations, institutions of higher learning, and others to divest themselves of Israel investments.
And in responding to the president’s Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal that he introduced in conjunction with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington, D.C., Omar called it “theft.”
â€œThis is not a peace plan,â€Â OmarÂ wrote in a tweet. â€œIt is theft. It is erasure.â€
Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, also criticized the plan.
This political stunt gets us no closer to peace or justice. As a member of Congress, I consider it a non-starter. https://t.co/PIYYZ75PWc
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) January 28, 2020
Both also decried the absence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who refused to take President Trump’s call when he was going to ask him to be involved in the process and instead called the American leader a “dog.”
In addition to the Democrat Party’s growing problem with anti-Semitism, the Trump administration has been documenting a rise, nationwide, in anti-Semitism, especially on American college campuses.
In July at a Justice Department summit on combatting anti-Semitism, Attorney General William Barr said:
I am deeply concerned about the rise in hate crimes and political violence that we have seen over the past decade. And this trend has included a marked increase in reported instances of anti-Semitic hate crimes. We can all agree this trend is intolerable. We must have zero tolerance for violence that is motivated by hatred for our fellow citizens whether based on race, sex, or creed. Anti-Semitic violence is especially pernicious because it targets both Jewish ethnic identity and religious practice. …
Anti-Semitism in the United States manifests itself in many ways other than outright violence. Prejudice is often reflected in zoning laws designed to exclude Jews from residing in particular communities. It is also manifest in the harassment of Jewish individuals and businesses. That is also why today is about far more than criminal prosecutions. We need to combat anti-Semitism on all fronts, as a government but also as a society.
“The vile, hate-filled poison of anti-Semitism must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears,” President Trump said in December, as he prepared to sign an executive order on combatting anti-Semitism.
The order reads, in part:
My Administration is committed to combating the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incidents in the United States and around the world. Â Anti-Semitic incidents have increased since 2013, and students, in particular, continue to face anti Semitic harassment in schools and on university and college campuses.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq., prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. …Â
It shall be the policy of the executive branch to enforce Title VI against prohibited forms of discrimination rooted in anti-Semitism as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI.
So it would seem as though there most definitely is a rise in anti-Semitism, even in the halls of Congress — so much so that the Justice Department and the president have singled it out as a problem.
But the libertarians over at Reason magazine say otherwise. In a piece published Wednesday, David Bernstein argues that there “is no epidemic of anti-Semitism in the United States.”
After citing some of the most recent examples of anti-Semitic violence on the Left and Right, Bernstein writes:
Nevertheless, I have consistently noted the absence of evidence that, despite the rhetoric of an “epidemic” of antisemitism, that there has been any actual increase in antisemitic attitudes among the general public. I’ve consistently challenged those who claim that Trump, or the far left, or anyone else has caused a spike in societal antisemitism to provide me with any study showing any such thing. No one has provided any.
Bernstein went on to cite a survey from the Anti-Defamation League that ostensibly found no rise in anti-Semitic attitudes among Americans. But then he writes:
Now, I admit that ADL methodology is far from perfect, but it does provide a basis for comparison, and there has been no spike, or even an increase, in antisemitism because of Donald Trump or anyone else.
The Justice Department’s summit wasn’t based on a lark but rather on hard data. At the July summit, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen noted, “According to the FBI, hate crimes based on religion have steadily grown in the United States since 2014, and anti-Jewish hate crimes have consistently been more than half of the totals each year.”
In November 2018, CBS News reported:
Hate crime incidents targeting Jews and Jewish institutions in the U.S. spiked about 37 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to data released Tuesday by the FBI. The rise is based on data that reflects an increased number of law enforcement agencies reporting to the federal government — numbers that show an overallÂ. …
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Jews were the most frequently-targeted religious group, with Muslims coming in second. But the comparison wasn’t even close, CBS News noted:
Religious-based hate crime comprised about 20 percent of the total. The FBI data shows Jewish people and institutions were most frequently targeted, accounting for 58.1 percent of religious-based hate crime incidents. Muslims were the second most frequent target, at 18.6 percent.
On Wednesday, Barr met with a small group of Jewish leaders in Brooklyn, and renewed his pledge to more aggressively target anti-Semitism.
â€œThis morning I am putting out a written directive to all U.S. attorneys offices, and it will require each office to initiate, or to reinvigorate if they already have taken this action, their relationship and outreach to the Jewish communities in their district,â€ Barr said.
â€œAs part of this, I want each U.S. attorneyâ€™s office to provide a point of contact for reporting hate crimes to their respective offices,â€ he added.
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