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Anti-Semitism and 'Islamophobia': No Moral Equivalence

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The disgust that many conservatives feel following Thursday’s House of Representatives resolution condemning “hate” is justified. The resolution, retrofitted to the goals of “Third World first, America last” Democratic Party radicals, was a stern rebuke to critics of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., the Somalia-born Muslim whose derogatory comments about Jews triggered the action. Since anti-Semitism and Islamophobia each constitute “hate,” the argument goes, they are equally bad. Both therefore must be condemned without regard as to whether one does more harm than another.


Many naïve, well-meaning people across the political spectrum believe this moral equivalence claptrap. For them, opposing “hate” is a no-brainer. Who possibly could be in favor of it? Given such an assumption, a condemnation by Congress of hate in all forms is necessary. To single out anti-Semitism is insufficient since it implicitly gives other forms of hate a free pass. That’s why the resolution, which passed 407-23, encountered no significant resistance. Who, after all, wants to be associated with hate?

In its condemnation, unfortunately, the House has affirmed the morally numb principle that our nation has no moral right to express special concern over the survival of one particular segment of the population. To denounce anti-Semitism without denouncing “Islamophobia” in the same breath somehow constitutes an attack on Muslims – as if an overhyped freshman in Congress transmitting classic tropes about Jewish money-grubbing, dual loyalty and hypnotic influence ought to be of no concern.

The resolution, initially pushed by the Anti-Defamation League, explicitly condemned anti-Semitism and mentioned Rep. Omar by name. To the radical Left, this was unacceptable. After all, Omar is a Muslim and a “person of color.” She practically has a halo over her head. In swift fashion, radicals within the House took control and dramatically broadened the target range. The revised version, in fact, included a long list of ostensible anti-Muslim hate crimes. Republicans, far from objecting, timidly went along. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., explained the revisions this way: “I thought the resolution should enlarge the issue to anti-Semitism, anti-Islamophobia, anti-white supremacy, and that it should not mention her [Omar’s] name, and that’s what we’re working on. Something that is one resolution addressing these forms of hatred not mentioning her name because it’s not about her, it’s about these forms of hatred.”


This was evasive. But the responses from minority lawmakers were truly repellent. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, provided one of them. “We need to have an equity in our outrage,” she remarked. “Islamophobia needs to be included in this. We need to denounce all forms of hate. There is not a hierarchy of hurt.” Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., like Omar, a Muslim, tweeted: “[Rep. Omar’s] strength inspires me and so many. She is being targeted just like many civil rights icons before us who spoke out about oppressive policies.” Perhaps most unforgivably, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., defended Rep. Omar on grounds that her experience in Somalia was much more “personal” than those who had relatives who had survived the Holocaust. “She is living through a lot of pain,” he asserted.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was one of the few voices that did express concern over the recent statements of Rep. Omar. Appearing Tuesday on Fox News Channel’s America’s Newsroom, Scalise not only defended a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, but also called for removing Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “She [Omar] continues to display anti-Semitic remarks,” he told anchor Sandra Smith. “These are her beliefs. And so if they [Democrats] really are serious about addressing the problem, Nancy Pelosi has to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee. She is literally getting intelligence briefings on foreign policy of the United States, including our relationship with Israel as she makes these kinds of comments, where she thinks any support of Israel is denouncing your own nationality.”


Scalise, needless to say, was given the back of the hand by the guardians of social equality at any cost. Ryan Grim, a far-Left commentator who for a time had been Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post, sent out this tweet: “Here is Steve Scalise, who literally spoke at a white supremacist convention, saying that @Ilhan should not be getting intelligence briefings, suggesting she is a mole or otherwise dangerous. And Congress plans to rebuke…@Ilhan.”

Let’s cut through the sanctimonious bull. What House lawmakers and media mavens call “Islamophobia” is nothing more than a rational response by law-abiding Americans to the spate of lethal Islam-motivated terrorist attacks upon unsuspecting civilians. It is not an emotional illness to express skepticism about immigration by people who profess belief in the theology that inspired these attacks. Apparently, it is unmentionable in polite company, and especially in the House of Representatives, that Jews are not a security threat to America.

The late conservative social philosopher Richard Weaver observed decades ago that denunciations of “prejudice” – or as we say today, “hate” – underneath function as demands for a nation’s people to dissolve deeply-held loyalties. “(T)he cry of ‘prejudice’ which has been used to frighten so many people in recent years,” he wrote, “is often no more than caterwauling.” The House resolution, in essence, is a demand for Americans to accept and embrace Omar and her base. To not celebrate such people is somehow to turn a blind eye from “hate,” even though such fanatics regularly traffic in hateful stereotypes that for centuries have led to much Jewish woe.


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