Beinstein column: Selective moral outrage over anti-Semitism
December 3, 2018
In light of the horrific shooting in Pittsburgh, Democrats tend to pit all acts of anti-Semitism on the right. From neo-Nazi rallies to the age-old trope of Jews and money, Republicans are evidently responsible for all ills befallen on the Jewish people. Scratch beneath the surface and you might find more of this talk on the left than the right.
Liberal commentators ranging from Chris Matthews to Tom Friedman have repeatedly implied the only reason Republicans support Israel is to appease their very rich Jewish donor Sheldon Adelson. This is offensive for several reasons.
Number one, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) hold much greater political clout than any Jewish organization does. Many modest, hardworking American Christians strongly object to any anti-Israel legislation. Being against Israel might hurt Republicans more with Christians than Jews.
Number two, why would someone want to object to Adelson's philanthropy? From everything he does, ranging from helping medical research to supporting young Jews visit Israel, the proceeds of his business have greatly helped humanity. If Democrats want to partner with Bill Gates in his fight against malaria that's OK, but Republicans can't do the same with Adelson?
And, lastly, as former Sen. Joe Lieberman so eloquently says, Adelson is living proof of the American dream. Born into poverty near Boston, Adelson, through hard work and grit, built a massive business empire. Again, why is it OK for Democrats to tear apart Adelson for some of his wealth coming from casinos when Democrats are exceedingly protective of the Roosevelts and Kennedys. The Roosevelts owed their fortune to the sale of opium in China and the Kennedys to the sale of liquor and Wall Street shenanigans.
And, if you compare which party has done more for Israel, it's not even close. All you have to do is look at the Senate's vote for America's ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.
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With the exceptions of Sens. Menendez and Manchin, every sitting Democratic Senator voted in '17 against Ambassador Friedman.
Unless a diplomat wants to appease every Muslim whim for control over the Holy Land, evidently the Democrats think you should be banned from governmental service. And let's look at recent history.
On his way out the door, Obama supported a UN resolution that said even the western wall is illegally occupied territory. Trump on the other hand declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Jimmy Carter called Israel an apartheid state. Ronald Reagan protected Israel from the PLO's presence in Lebanon.
Bill Clinton and his wife supported the Iran deal, which jeopardized the lives of countless Jews whereas former President Bush thought the deal was so bad that, in a very rare occasion for him, he publicly rebuked his successor, President Obama.
Nixon might have made a few inappropriate remarks about Jews, but Harry Truman's diary is littered with anti-Semitism. Golda Meir, a former Israeli PM, warmly embraced conservative clergyman Billy Graham.
The same is true of PMs Menachem Begin and Benjamin Netanyahu with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, respectively.
Meanwhile, liberal clergymen like Jesse Jackson called New York "Hymie-town" and, according to witnesses in Crown Heights, Al Sharpton said "kill the Jews" during race riots in 1991.
From the crusades to the Inquisition to the Holocaust to the gulags, Jews have always suffered. And no political group is entirely innocent of anti-Semitism.
But on balance, it's deeply hypocritical of Democrats to attack the right for insufficiently standing up for Jews. Republicans have been far better than their counterparts.
Alex Beinstein is a millennial who grew up in Aspen, lived in Carbondale for a while and now writes from Washington, D.C. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent.