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What Rashida Tlaib reveals about how the left really feels on antisemitism

OpinionWhat Rashida Tlaib reveals about how the left really feels on antisemitism

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According to Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the term “from the river to the sea,” is a call for “freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence.” According to many others, including Hamas, it is a call to destroy Israel even at the cost of Jewish lives. 

Even after being censured by the House of Representatives for her antisemitic remarks and for spreading Hamas propaganda, with 22 Democrats voting to rebuke her, Tlaib doubled down, saying she would not be silenced and that her words were being distorted. 

So how are we to determine where pro-Palestinian sentiment ends and antisemitism begins? 


Over at the progressive New York Magazine, Eric Levitz has an answer. What’s not surprising is that it exonerates Tlaib, what is surprising is that it is an absolute refutation of two decades of progressive orthodoxy about bigotry. 

Tlaib addresses Jewish Voice protesters

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., speaks during a demonstration calling for a ceasefire in Gaza near the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

Here’s what he says: 

“Too often, arguments about antisemitism get bogged down in assertations about a given claim’s motivation, which in most cases is unknowable. So in determining whether a statement should be branded as antisemitic, let’s focus on its explicit meaning, not its alleged motivation.” 

It is utterly astounding. 

This is the 180-degree opposite of everything the left has said about racism, sexism and transphobia as it pounded into our heads that we shouldn’t use terms like “you guys,” “peanut gallery,” or “mother” even if our motivation is purely innocent. 

They reinforce harmful stereotypes, you see. 

The entire basis of critical race theory from Peggy McIntosh’s “Invisible Knapsack” to Ibram X Kendi’s “Antiracist Baby” is that motivation or intent is completely irrelevant when judging if a statement is racist.

Why is this rule different for antisemitism? Why is anything short of “I want you in a gas chamber,” nuanced? 

We have also been told that demographic groups themselves decide what is and isn’t offensive to say about them. If a Black person or a gay person or a Martian tells us something crosses a line, the left says we must respect that. 

Hamas terrorists inside Israel during attack

This image made from undated bodycam video footage taken by a downed Hamas terrorist and released by Israel Defense Forces shows him walking around a residential neighborhood at an undisclosed location in southern Israel during the Hamas terror attack on Oct. 7. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

But here we have Jews all over the country insisting not only that these slogans are antisemitic and hurtful, but that they are causing legitimate fear of violence. 

Where is the “words are literally violence” crowd as Jewish students are accosted and harassed on college campuses, in one case by the editor of Harvard Law Review. 

The double standard is glaring. 

For every other group, we must walk on ever-shifting eggshells so as not to microagress, but when it comes to Jews, well, they oughta just be less sensitive. 

This is the pernicious and predictable, actual bigotry of a progressive left that can only see things through the lens of oppressor and oppressed. 

In this sad, twisted matrix, the oppressed can never be wrong, no matter how foul their motivations, no matter how many they kill. And the oppressor, unless they are actively fighting the alleged oppression, props up systemic bigotry merely by existing. 

The saddest part of this is that, of course, Levitz is correct. Obviously, motivation and intent should be taken into account with allegations of bigotry. But if we apply this standard, with its high bar to antisemitism, why not to every form of bigotry? 

It is possible to make a distinction between someone marching in general support of Palestinians and someone chanting, “Glory to the martyrs,” which is very much an explicit call to murder more Jews.  

Why is this rule different for antisemitism? Why is anything short of “I want you in a gas chamber,” nuanced? 

That is a distinction that most Americans would be comfortable with, but Tlaib and her band of loony leftists won’t even call out “Glory to the martyrs.”  


No, for today’s American progressive, the double standard is the point. The rules of political correctness were never rules at all. They were an academic Rube Goldberg device meant to distract from the left’s one and only true goal, power. 

In pursuit of this power, or as they call it, social justice, anything is fair game, even tearing down missing posters of kidnapped babies being held hostage. 


Americans must, and eventually will, defeat this perverse ideology that places us all into demographic boxes and turns a sly, blind eye to even abject antisemitism.  

But until that happens, until our society utterly rejects the double standards of identity politics, a lot of Jews are going to take a lot of abuse, and silence in the face of that abuse is indeed complicity. 



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