On African American Congressman Antisemitic comment and where is the response?

Congressman Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia referred to the Jews living in Judea and Samaria as ”Termites”. A Nazi style statement, not different from the Goebbels dictionary referring to Jews as Vermin, a term used also by the new friend of the US, Ayatollah Khamene’i. So, antisemites are like antisemites… they do not change, but what changes is the response , be it by fellow Jews , or African Americans, or just ordinary bleeding-heart Liberals, whether Jews or not.

To start with, some context. Congressman Johnson apologized, sort of, saying it was only a metaphor. Oh, so antisemitic metaphors are acceptable by this Congressman. But then, your humble servant has a long memory, and I happen to remember, that years ago, a Palestinian professor from the University of South Florida, one Sami Al-Arian , was seeen waving a banner, saying ”death to Israel”. When asked about that, the ”good” professor said;”it was only a metaphor”. So , you see, these guys like to use the word ”metaphor” when making the most outrageous antisemitic statements. Again, the antisemites never change , nor what they say,neither what they mean.

Now let us speculate what would have happened if a Jewish Congressman, or just prominent Jewish figure said something like that
about African Americans , say Black lives matter[BLM] guys being ”termites”. Well, can we even imagine the reaction. There would have been a wild stampede of Jews to condemn, a competition between them about the sharpest words to be used . Let me be clear here; I consider myself the most Liberal of Liberals when it comes to racial, ethnic, religious bias, and this is why I detest a certain Presidential candidate called Donald J Trump, and one of the reasons why I am not a supporter of Hillary Clinton, having read the emails with the references to Jews. My Liberalism on this issue, is from the teachings of our great leader, Zeev Jabotinsky. I do not necessarily object even to the BLM , as I recognize where the protest coming from.

I happen to believe though, that ALL lives matter, that showing respect to ALL human beings is important , yes ”even” towards Jews living in Judea and Samaria. But, I am also thinking, that what should be so obvious , is no more. Simple question; Where is the Jewish universal outcry about this latest manifestation of overt , unabashed antisemitic outburst, which , in my mind, became even worse with the so-called ”apology” about”metaphor”. Where are the Jews of Atlanta protesting outside the local office of this Congressman? . Where are the national Jewish organizations?. Well, I read that the ADL accepted the ”apology”, so now I know that to refer to Jews as ”termites” is an acceptable ”metaphor” in the eyes of the current ADL.

I am going to suggest an explanation to what I consider to be a display of amazing, unheard of Jewish weakness. It is that the politicization of the American Jewish community is in such a state, that EVEN such a blatant case of antisemitism falls prey to the political bias of people; Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, Pro Israel, Anti Israel, it is all about parisanship, not about a sense of communal solidarity. Can’t Liberals condemn such blatant antisemitic attack on ”settlers” while still showing the strongest possible objections to the politics of the settlers for whatever reason they have in mind?

Can’t Conservatives condemn the horrific displays of antisemitism emanating from the Trump campaign, while still supporting him for whatever strange reason that they can think of?. Can’t Rabbis of Human Rights of one group or another come out strongly against the murder of innocent”settlers”, an unfortunate and oft-repeated situation, as they come out against the very rare and still criminal murder of innocent Palestinians by settlers?.

We as a community lost even the most basic elements of internal solidarity. We are getting weaker collectively as a result of that , and we ALL are losing politically, and consequently the haters will intensify the campaign against Jews , or ”metaphoric termites” with renewed vigor. This is why we hear nothing from thoser who should be our natural allies in the struggle against antisemitism, the African-American leadership. Why should we expect them to do what we do not do in the first place?. Maybe their defeaning silence is because they know that Democrat Jews are themselves silent, and who cares about other Jews? .Kudos however to those African -Americans who came out against Hank Johnson and his comment.

The dark clouds of antisemitism are gathering over our heads. It should not be a partisan question in our community, but it is ,
and the clouds will just get darker and darker.

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina