Racism and rhetoric

You may recall that I predicted this very division in the Democratic Party years ago. It’s the same political dynamic, writ large, that Omar rode into the Minnesota state legislature.

House Democrats erupted in protest over plans to vote this week on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism – an indirect sanction on freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in response to the suggestion that supporters of Israel have “allegiance to a foreign country.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on Wednesday that there may not be a vote this week on the measure, saying “We’re discussing what is the best way to address it,” according to the Washington Post.

Walking into them meeting, a confident Pelosi told the media that the Omar situation “would be resolved,” adding “I think you make more of it than there is . . . to be very honest with you — the press loves to foment unease in the Democratic Party but we are very united” regarding the Democratic House agenda.

Moments later, all hell broke loose:

Inside the meeting, according to multiple people present, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to keep her caucus focused on a planned Friday vote on a sweeping campaign and elections reform bill. She acknowledged “internal issues,” according to notes taken by a Democratic aide present, and urged members not to “question the motivations of our colleagues.”

But moments later, multiple House members stood up to challenge the decision — endorsed by Pelosi and the rest of the House Democratic leadership — to move forward with a resolution condemning religious hatred. Initially the measure targeted only anti-Semitism, with some Democrats pushing for a direct rebuke of Omar, but by Tuesday night — facing backlash from members not on board with the plan — leaders decided to expand it to include anti-Muslim bias. -Washington Post

Several Democrats those who took issue with the measure were members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who opposed even an indirect rebuke of Rep. Omar when they should be focusing on how to attack President Trump.

“I think there’s a big rise in anti-Semitism and racism, and that’s a bigger conversation we need to be having.” said Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA). “But it starts at 1600 Pennsylvania. It doesn’t start with one member out of 435 members of Congress.”

“Why are we doing this?” asked Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), who said that a resolution would be “redundant and unnecessary,” likely referring to the January 11 rebuke of Omar after she accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of contributing to pro-Israel politicians.

“We’ve individually and collectively already responded to the fact that we oppose all ‘-isms’ that do not treat people in this country fairly and justly,” said Coleman. “To continue to engage in this discussion is simply an opportunity to give both the media and Republicans distractions from our agenda. We’ve got important work to do.”

Other members, including Richmond, said it was unfair that the caucus would take action against one of its own members while other GOP lawmakers have uttered offensive remarks with no retribution. This week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) accused Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) of anti-Semitism for a tweet referring to Tom Steyer, a Democratic donor of Jewish descent as “Tom $teyer,” and Richmond and several other members mentioned Trump. -Washington Post

“We need to have equity in our outrage,” said Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) who said after the meeting that she was focused on “the occupant of this White House who is seeding every form of hate, emboldening it with racist rhetoric and policies. That is who we all need to be focused on, and this is a distraction.”

According to those present, Omar attended the meeting but did not speak.

Jewish lawmakers, meanwhile, insist that the House needs to pass the resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to Omar’s remarks.

What we’re learning here is that the concepts of 4GW apply to rhetoric as well as war. “Racism” is effective because it is based on a perception of societally punching down. But Jews can no longer effectively play the victim game in a multiethnic empire where they are the most powerful identity group among the ruling elite. That is why the accusations of “anti-semitism” are still effective with white Baby Boomers but have no effect whatsoever on rival immigrant populations and younger US citizens.

Also, the best rhetoric points towards the truth. And call it what you will, claiming that supporters of Israel cannot possibly have any allegiance to Israel is not only untruthful, it is downright incoherent.