Let’s hope that the Republican Party continues to stand up for the Jewish community because it’s clear that Jews cannot count on help or support from the Democrats.

In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh tragedy, there has been a great deal of discussion about the causes of contemporary American anti-Semitism.  Naturally, those on the left side of the political spectrum rushed to blame Donald Trump’s tribalism and imprecise or inflammatory language, but I don’t see it that way.

I believe the far greater threat to Jews in America is the fact that Democratic candidates for Congress can voice blatantly anti-Semitic and harshly anti-Israel views and still be elected by voters who barely notice or care about such proclamations.

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were elected to the House of Representatives from Michigan and Minnesota respectively with 80%-90% of the votes despite their well-documented screeds against Israel.  Keith Ellison was elected to the office of Attorney-General in Minnesota with a 100,000 vote plurality despite his long-standing and warm relationship with Lewis Farrakhan and his links to Islamist groups.  Leslie Cockburn, a Democratic candidate in Virginia for Congress (who lost but had 47% of the vote), co-authored a book with her husband about the Jewish lobby’s alleged control of American foreign policy.  Scott Walker, who ran for Congress in Virginia and barely lost, helps fund BDS groups, and finally, there is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who won a seat in New York with nearly 80% of the vote and who has criticized Israel for massacring Palestinians.

In each of these cases, voters decided that the promise of free tuition or broader health care coverage or some other shiny bauble was far more important than the candidate’s views on Jews or Israel.  Hannah Arendt talked about the “banality of evil” and perhaps that is another way to describe this disinterest or indifference.  It’s not Donald Trump bloviating about the dangers of unimpeded immigrants that should cause Jews concern (although many liberal Jews seems to think that is the most important issue facing our community).  The far more alarming phenomenon is the fact that anti-Semitism is hardly worth noting, let alone a deal-breaker for candidacy in the Democratic Party.

During the eight years of Barak Obama’s presidency, Israel witnessed the least supportive American administration in decades, but the Democratic Party of that era didn’t nominate people with fire-engine bright red flags on their resumes when it came to Jews and Israel.  The present incarnation of the Party seems to have no such reservations and that should be deeply troubling to Jews in America.  Even more disconcerting is the fact that millions of Americans voted for those anti-Semitic candidates just 2 weeks after 11 Jews were slaughtered in Pittsburgh.  Despite the widespread and genuine expressions of sympathy by non-Jews for the Jewish community’s loss, it’s apparent that voters were unable or unwilling to connect the dots between virulently anti-Semitic positions by Democratic candidates and their role in creating an environment of hostility to and demonization of Jews.

Let’s hope that the Republican Party continues to stand up for the Jewish community because it’s clear that Jews cannot count on help or support from the Democrats.

Article by Henry Roth

Henry Roth was born in Haifa and immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s. The son of Romanian Holocaust survivors, he has been married to Brenda for 43 years, is the father of two sons, Marc and David, the happy grandfather of Nicolas and a proud and loud Zionist.