- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Joe Lieberman, former senator from Connecticut and a vice presidential nominee in 2000 — whose Jewish observances once created quite an internal struggle that pitted his Sabbath against his politicking schedule — offered some stern words to the Democrats rallying around Rep. Ilhan Omar right now that went like this: Tread carefully.

Rallying about anti-Semitism could come back to bite.

You don’t say.

That should seem obvious. But to Democrats — apparently, even anti-Semitic comments are worthy of defense.

Here’s what Lieberman said on Fox News, responding to Omar’s suggestion that pro-Israel pols have sold out America by pledging “allegiance” to the Jewish state: That’s “clearly anti-Semitic,” he said, Mediaite noted.



In full: “When people say words that are biased, bigoted and hurtful to another group of people — another group of Americans — they have to be condemned quickly or else it takes hold. I’m not only thinking about anti-Semitism, I’m thinking about racism, I’m thinking about any kind of bigotry toward any religious group or any other group,” he said.

He then called this latest media swirl over Omar’s comments a “time of testing for the House of Representatives,” a “moral test” to see which way each lawmaker will fall.

“It’s a moral test about how clearly they will speak out — in this case against what Congresswoman Omar said, which was clearly anti-Semitic,” Lieberman said.

He then said most Democrats don’t think as Omar does about America’s support for Israel.

“But if they start to mumble in response to her specific and clear anti-Semitic statement,” Lieberman went on, “then the party itself is going to be held more broadly accountable for having similar feelings — which I know they don’t.”

Or — maybe they do.

Who’s really to say when people of supposed good and moral character stay silent in the face of evil?

From NBC News: “Democrats split on response to Ilhan Omar’s latest Israel comments,” one headline read.

At issue was a resolution House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted to bring that would’ve outright condemned anti-Semitism in all its ugly forms. The resolution, as initially discussed and leaked to the press, failed to mention Omar by name. And hours later, angry rank-and-file Democrats representing the progressive and far left elements of the party managed to stall the resolution’s introduction.

President Donald Trump took note of the wishy-washy response to Omar’s anti-Semitism — which includes a 2012 tweet that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel” — and said, in his own tweet: “It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism.”

Yes, it is.

It’s starting to look like Democrats aren’t that concerned about anti-Semitism at all.

Americans want to believe Lieberman when he says Omar’s views on Israel and the Jewish people “clearly do not represent the thinking of most anybody else in office in the Democratic Party,” as Mediaite reported.

But with all this silence, all this Democratic Party resistance to a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, it’s hard to agree.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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