Opinion

Get rid of the anti-Semitic squad

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After the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7, we immediately thought that no reasonable person could do anything other than condemn the terrorist group in the strongest possible words.

And yet, the progressive “Squad” in Congress has not only refused to condemn Hamas: its vile anti-Semitism threatens the Democratic Party, the United States and Israel, and its hateful rhetoric endangers millions of American Jews.

The Squad’s pro-Hamas positions, which totally contradict the values ​​that the United States and Israel hold dear, are a growing political vulnerability for Democrats, and the time has come for Democrats to distance themselves from such hateful and dangerous policies.

Nine progressive Democrats voting against a bipartisan bill reaffirming US support for Israel against “the barbaric war launched by Hamas” shows how extreme the far left has become and exposes the anti-Semitic rot at the heart of the Squad and the growing gap between it and the rest of the party.

Condemning a terrorist group that committed the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust should not be controversial.

But progressives have a deep-seated hatred of Israel, and members of the Squad are even politically threatening President Biden if he does not accede to their extreme demands.

In the latest political stunt, Rep. Rashida Tlaib released a video accusing Biden of supporting Israel’s “genocide” against the Palestinians and warning that he would pay a political price for his opposition to a ceasefire that would reward Hamas: if he continues to oppose it “Don’t count on us in 2024.”

Tlaib also published a defense of the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which the Anti-Defamation League correctly notes as anti-Semitic because it calls for the eradication of Israel, the state that lies between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Tlaib’s comment drew swift condemnation from top Democrats, including Rep. Elissa Slotkin, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Sen. Jacky Rosen, who called Tlaib “wrong” and criticized her for promoting a phrase calling for “eliminate the State of Israel.”

Needless to say, Tlaib’s promotion and defense of a thinly veiled call for the destruction of the Jewish state should have been condemned by all elected officials on both sides of the aisle; However, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the face of the squad, has repeatedly demonstrated her unwillingness to repudiate the anti-Semitic comments of her far-left colleagues.

He even joined them. Ocasio-Cortez recently accused Israel of committing completely unfounded war crimes and used anti-Semitic tropes to accuse the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (a pro-Israel lobby) of being “racist and intolerant” and an “extremist organization that destabilizes the American democracy” because of AIPAC’s historic support for political opponents of the Squad’s anti-Semitic members.

It is now critical that our party, in word and deed, reject the Squad and its pro-Hamas positions, as it is clear that its members cannot control themselves.

If not for moral reasons, then for political reasons: at least three members of the squad are vulnerable to primary challenges.

One of the most vulnerable is Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who has taken a wide range of positions on Israel and has neither explicitly condemned Hamas nor embraced Israel as the only democracy in a region dominated by repressive dictators.

The New York Times reports that Jews make up 20% to 30% of Democratic primary voters in his New York district.

In fact, Bowman’s vote against the bipartisan resolution reaffirming US support for Israel and condemning Hamas got him into trouble at home, with more than two dozen rabbis in his district criticizing it as “a position of appeasement.” towards the terrorist regime of Hamas.”

His letter continued: “Since being elected, Bowman has led the effort to erode support for Israel on Capitol Hill and within the Democratic Party.”

Bowman’s potential rivals have also taken note.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer, a likely challenger, has stepped up efforts to show his support for both Israel and the local Jewish community, drawing less-than-subtle distinctions between his support for Israel and Bowman’s progressive stance.

Bowman is not alone on the bench.

At least two other members of the Squad are vulnerable for reasons broader than their anti-Semitic dislike of Israel, such as progressive economic policies that worry about taxes and the prioritization of social issues over everyday issues such as the economy, crime and education. .

Representative Summer Lee, a newcomer to Congress, also drew condemnation from dozens of rabbis and cantors in her district, which includes the Tree of Life synagogue, where a gunman killed 11 Jews in 2018, after voting against the bipartisan resolution.

Lee’s rival, Bhavini Patel, criticized her for “not condemning the initial Hamas attack” and for making “wildly disconnected and irresponsible” comments when Lee falsely accused Israel of bombing a hospital in Gaza, which turned out to be the fault of a Wandering Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket.

Even squad members in very blue districts are not immune.

Rep. Ilhan Omar won her 2022 primary by just two points and faces a host of challengers, including Don Samuels, who nearly beat her at the time.

He recently told The Post that Omar’s “knee-jerk reactions to global events” have been a distraction from issues like “public education, public safety [and] house prices.”

Given the gravity of this moment, Democrats should consider a primary challenge to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

A serious primary opponent would argue that his abhorrent positions on the Middle East and his inability to condemn the vile anti-Semitism of those like Tlaib and Omar have not gone unnoticed.

He also hurt his district by eliminating Amazon’s planned New York headquarters, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs along with the additional revenue that would have accrued to small businesses.

After the October 7 attacks, Democrats can no longer afford to sweep the Squad’s virulent anti-Semitism under the rug, lest they pay a high electoral (and moral) price.

Ultimately, as lifelong Democrats, we must say: Enough is enough. It’s time to say goodbye to the squad.

We implore the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and outside PACs not to support offensive outliers whose positions contradict the core values ​​of our party and our country.

We implore voters to send them home.

Their positions are deeply out of sync with those of mainstream Americans and will tarnish the entire Democratic Party if we allow them to remain under the Democratic banner.

Douglas Schoen was a senior advisor to Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign, a White House advisor (1994-2000), and an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2000 U.S. Senate campaign. Andrew Stein is a former New York City Council president. York between 1986 and 1994.

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