No room for Jews in GOP tent

Republicans like to say theirs is the party that loves Israel the most, but they apparently feel it’s ok to love Israel and hate Jews. And the GOP love their anti-Semites. That’s the message that came through loud and clear last week when House Republicans refused to discipline Marjorie Taylor Greene (Q-Georgia) for a history of race-baiting, hate speech, incitement, lies and conspiracy-mongering. Instead of ejecting, censuring or just stripping her of her committee assignments last week, the party’s top leaders led a standing ovation for their newest star.

That act of cowardice only intensified the focus on the GOP as a party for White Christians and a few token minorities entering through a back door.

The bright light shining on Republicans these days isn’t the Jewish laser beam that Greene blamed for igniting the deadly 2018 California Camp Fire blaze. It is just another of her many absurdities – no plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, the school massacres were staged events, the January 6 Trump insurrection was the work of “BLM/Antifa violence” – that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called “loony lies and conspiracy theories” that are a “cancer for the Republican Party.”

Among the Jewish conspiracies Greene has “uncovered” are Israeli advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, “Zionist supremacists” who are masterminding Muslim immigration to Europe” to outnumber whites, international bankers and globalists (euphemisms for Jews) and the chief worldwide conspirator, George Soros. The QAnon follower’s defense was that she said those things prior to January 3 of this year and should not be held accountable. Her party and its leaders agreed.

Greene has rapidly become the new face of the Republican Party as the old guard cowers in fear and the disgraced former president praises her as a “future Republican star.”

A virulent strain of the cancer McConnell spoke of is anti-Semitism. And it has been a major component of the white nationalism and militia elements that dominate the Trumpist base. It was seen on the “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt of one of the former president’s followers who invaded the Capitol on January 6. On the Nazi symbols some carried.  And when one of the insurrectionists announced from the Senate podium, “Jesus Christ, we invoke your name. Amen.” The Proud Boys carried flags declaring, “Jesus is my savior/Trump is my president.”

Anti-Semitism is a bulging vein that runs through the insurrectionist groups.

The conspiracy theorist QAnon cult, of which Greene is today’s most prominent member, has a reputation for anti-Semitism, as do Patriot Boys, 3 Percenters, Oath Keepers neo-Nazis, KKK and other white supremacist groups. They share an affinity for Trump, the first American president to bestow political legitimacy on their assorted bigotry. When some of them marched at Charlottesville, VA, in 2017, chanting “Jews will not replace us,” they were widely condemned, but not by Trump, who saw in them “many fine people.”

You’ll hear a lot of whataboutism from her defenders, pointing fingers at two Muslim Democratic Congresswomen, Reps. Ilhan Omar(D-Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan). Both have been highly critical of US Middle East policy and the Israeli government, and in an unprecedented move, both were barred from entering Israel, at the urging of the disgraced American president.

Omar accused Israel’s supporters in Congress of being motivated by money, not principle. “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” she said. No standing ovation for her. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership publicly condemned her “anti-Semitic tropes,”  and in response she “unequivocally” apologized.

Greene insists that Muslims elected to the 117th Congress are “not really official” because unlike her they swore their oath on the Quran, not Christian bibles. Of course, there is no such requirement. Presumably, she feels the same way about the 33 Jews, two Buddhists, two Hindus, nine Mormons other non-Christian or non-affiliated members of Congress.

It should tell you a lot about the GOP’s claim of a “big tent” when you look at those minorities. Only two are Jews are Republicans. In addition, there are 61 Black lawmakers in both chambers; only three are Republicans.

Greene may be the most prominent member of the GOP’s lunatic fringe today, but she has abundant company. Rep. Mary Miller (R-Illinois) sparked demands for her resignation for saying “Hitler was right on one thing.” Her apology consisted of declaring her “support of Israel.” Pistol-packing Lauren Boebert of Colorado who insists on wearing her Glock on the House floor; the brother of Arizona’s Paul Gosar denounced him for “anti-Semitic diatribes” and involvement with “anti-Muslim groups and hate groups.” Not to be left out are Reps. Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Randy Webber, Jim Jordan and Andy Harris..

The Republican Jewish Coalition, which served as cheerleader for Trump even as he stirred up the nation’s anti-Semites, said it was “offended and appalled” by Greene’s remarks and called her “far outside the mainstream” of the GOP but stopped short of demanding her expulsion. Other Jewish groups were more forceful.

Greene dismissed her critics as a “radical, leftwing Democratic mob” and said “more MAGA reinforcements are on the way.”

QAnon had a highly visible presence in the insurrection at the Capitol along with a malignant mix of other extremists. Their assault wasn’t spontaneous.

Unless GOP leaders find backbones that have been AWOL for the past four years, their party will continue its headlong rush to ugly extremism. As they try to figure out what to do about Greene and the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the party’s white supremacist base, Jewish Republicans must consider their place in the party. Party leaders’ expressions of love for Israel can’t cover up the problem, and Jewish voters know this fact: today’s Republican Party is fast becoming the party of prejudice, paranoia and poison.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.
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