Forward editor: Democrat silence on Omar, Tlaib anti-Semitism is getting deafening

When will Democrats finally take a stand against the anti-Semitic public statements from two of its own US Representatives? The Forward laid down a challenge yesterday to the Left in a column titled “The Left can no longer excuse its anti-Semitism.” Coming from a leading progressive Jewish publication, one would think that Democrats would find it tough to ignore.

Unfortunately, as The Forward’s opinion editor remarked in a Twitter thread this morning, it wasn’t as tough for Democrats and the Left to ignore as she’d hoped:

This refers to a Carlos Latuff political cartoon circulated by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib after Benjamin Netanyahu blocked their trip to Israel. Both shared the cartoon showing Netanyahu and Donald Trump gagging Tlaib and Omar, with a Star of David prominently displayed between the two scenes. Put aside the ridiculous idea that either of these two have been gagged in any way; they’re on tour at the moment, having come through Minneapolis in the last couple of days. Latuff uses the Star of David as an accusation against Jews, not just Israel, as Latuff doesn’t even bother to masquerade the accusation by putting blue bars around it and pretending it was the nation’s flag.

Columnist Izabella Tabarovsky demanded that the Left and Democrats condemn Omar and Tlaib for sharing anti-Semitic propaganda, but didn’t hold out much hope they would:

There is, sadly, nothing new about anti-Semitic cartoons in the progressive blogosphere or on “woke” social media. Latuff and his explanations are well-known entities. And confined to their corners of the internet, those cartoons are easy to ignore: All you have to do is avoid the sites that publish them. Most Jews have learned to do just that.

What made things different this time though was the fact that this cartoon was embraced and promoted by two American elected officials with a cumulative Instagram following of 1.3 million.

Making things worse was the fact that the cartoon came on the heels of the revelation that on their Israel trip, the two Congresswomen had planned to use the services of an NGO that had spread a blood libel about Jews, published an American neo-Nazi treatise about Jewish control of American media and entertainment, and celebrated terror attacks against civilians.

Just to give the proper context, The Forward is not exactly a bastion of conservative thought. It has been a leading voice for progressivism in Jewish circles for decades, very critical of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, and has criticized Trump’s treatment of both women at times. This is not a publication that freely tosses around charges of anti-Semitism at leading progressives and Democrats.

And yet, here we are, both Tabarovsky and Ungar-Sargon say, and it’s not just a one-off. It’s a trend among their fellow progressives, and they’re in full denial over it:

The silence has been deafening indeed — and for a while. The cartoon, in fact, is not the first time in recent months that Democratic presidential candidates have turned the other way when confronted with anti-Semitic content in progressive spaces.

At the recent Netroots Nation summit — “the largest annual conference of progressives” — panelists suggested that Zionism was equivalent to white supremacy. The summit sold t-shirts grouping Zionism with racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism “as maladies to be ‘resisted.’” ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt condemned both, but the four Democratic presidential candidates who spoke at the summit — Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, and Julian Castro — remained mum on the issue.

When it comes to anti-Semitism, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party seems to be the tail that’s wagging the dog, pushing the boundaries of the acceptable further and further. It is meeting only minimal public resistance from the rest of the party. The losers are, undoubtedly, American Jews, whose safety and standing are being gradually eroded.

There’s not much more to add to that. Omar and Tlaib partnered with a neo-Nazi outfit for their trip, and then have amplified anti-Semitic propaganda to promote themselves. If a Republican member of Congress did that, he’d be reamed for it — and rightfully so. Not only are Democrats tacitly endorsing this with their silence, so is most of the rest of the media with their refusal to cover it honestly. We may not agree with Batya Ungar-Sargon and The Forward often on policy, but she’s clear-eyed about this threat. It’s well past puzzling that her fellow progressives aren’t standing up to the threat.