For weeks now the Democratic Party has been wrestling with the mounting problem of anti-Semitism in its ranks, in particular regarding freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. A continuous list of problematic comments from the newcomer led to the party to having to take action this week, issuing a House resolution on anti-Semitism. And, following the vote by his party, Andrew Gillum, CNN’s new political pundit, reflected on the Democrats' mental gymnastics.
Gillum appeared on the program New Day and was asked directly about the comments from Omar. He struggled mightily to sound as if he was talking tough, while also excusing her comments. It's one thing to come forward and condemn anti-Semitism, but then, in the same breath, declare what Omar said to be “legitimate” and “wholly appropriate” means you're trying to have it both ways. Precisely how the Dems acted in the House on this resolution.
“Obviously, all of us reject anti-Semitism,” Gillum began, “And she does as well -- and said so in her own words.” Except, while she has voiced opposition to anti-Semitism, she has followed that up numerous times with other anti-Semitic remarks. That is not rejecting, that is perpetuating, and her inability to refrain from making these kinds of comments was why the resolution was called for in the first place.
Gillum continued to struggle. “What I really find really baffling is that if this is anti-Semitic or not has really allowed us to cover up and paper over, I think, some other legitimate questions that appear to be raised.” So while he wants to be regarded as serious about anti-Semitic comments, he has no effort dismissing them, because there were some questions raised that he deems important.
Lost on Gillum is that questions posed from an anti-Semitic stance should be instantly discounted. His appearance is a stream of this type of political double-speak, at the end of which you are perplexed what he really stands for on the matter. Have look at his CNN struggle here:
Gillum’s duality here is a perfect mirror to the Democrats' actions on this issue last week. It is a sign of how badly things fell into disarray for the party as it has just taken power in the House; yet, party leadership felt the need to pause and address the comments from Omar, who was just elected last November. Barely two months in office and already a disciplinary action was summoned -- and then the Democrats managed to bungle the affair.
The resolution was hotly debated for a few days, and revisions were made throughout. By the end, the Democrats created a version that was watered down to such a degree it was essentially neutered. To appease sensitive groups, and hope to draw as much support as they could to put the matter behind them, Democrats managed instead to expose themselves as an unserious lot on the matter.
The resolution that finally was brought forward was broadened to such a degree it included “traditionally persecuted peoples, including African Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, immigrants, and others with verbal attacks, incitement, and violence.” Then it was revised again to include Latinos, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders and the LGBTQ community. It then cited the source of these offensive acts and words to include groups like white supremacists. It even invokes Charlottesville.
So a resolution meant to specifically address anti-Semitism by one member had a dozen other groups lumped in. It mentioned Islamophobia specifically in a passage, and laid the blame at the feet of a number of other groups. And Ilhan Omar, the member who provoked this in the first place? She is never even named in the resolution, not one time.
Nancy Pelosi then took things to a more ineffectual level when she declared that Omar was “not anti-Semitic.” She then defended the congresswoman further, saying she did not “understand the full weight of her words.“ This is a 37-year-old woman she is referring to, and one who has repeatedly had to account for things she had spoken.
If she is incapable of understanding what she says, is it not fair to ask why she was appointed to any committees, reserved normally for leadership posts? In fact, the Democrats have zero intention of removing Omar from any of her committee assignments, specifically the Foreign Affairs Committee.
In the end it appears the Democrats are hardly serious about addressing the issue of anti-Semitism. This week’s tepid effort means this issue will continue to mestastasize for them, becoming harder to deal with in the future.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.