If you’ve ever lived in Washington D.C., you know there are certain infestations of political insects that, try as you might, you’ll never be able to get rid of.
The worst are the Lyndon LaRouche people.
If you’re too young to remember who Lyndon LaRouche was or have never lived in D.C., LaRouche was a cult political figure with the emphasis on cult.
A convicted fraudster, LaRouche was also a perennial presidential candidate who ran a strange political organization that was somewhere between the Hare Krishnas and pre-fruit punch Jonestown on the sectarian scale.
His wild-eyed acolytes were known for strange demonstrations that involved singing and aggressively shoving fliers into your hands. “Who’s afraid of Lyndon LaRouche?!” the one in my neighborhood would always shout at me, stepping in front of me as I tried to go to the Metro station. In short, they weren’t fun and no amount of intellectual fumigation could get rid of them.
Next to the LaRouche were the “free Palestine” people. These weren’t the kind of people who just wanted Palestine to achieve statehood.
Their idea of freeing Palestine was usually freeing it from any sort of Israeli taint, which usually meant getting rid of Israel. This was usually a cover for the most conspiratorial sort of anti-Semitism, the kind where the believer is convinced that the Jewish people control everything bad that happens in the world, from wars to famine to that version of “The Mummy” with Tom Cruise in it.
Their main target is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
AIPAC is an organization that lobbies on behalf of pro-Israel policy in Washington. Most powerful nations have lobby groups of this sort, but the free Palestine folks ascribe mystical powers to AIPAC, believing they have a limitless source of money they can use to buy politicians off and pull any string they want when it comes to American foreign policy.
WARNING: The following tweet and videos contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.
You may remember this theory from Rep. Ilhan Omar’s tweet about our policy toward Israel being “all about the Benjamins.”
Omar doesn’t share the perfervid nature of free Palestine folk, but she’s certainly willing to give them a bit of ideological cover and respectability.
So, too, is Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The socialist senator from Vermont recently announced in a very public manner that he wasn’t going to speak at AIPAC’s policy summit in Washington. As the group pointed out, he’d never actually attended it before, so this shouldn’t have been a shocker.
What was a bit perturbing was Sanders’ language.
“The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights,” Sanders said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his government and his supporters.
“As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region,” he added.
This, apparently, involves calling one side bigots.
AIPAC’s policy conference began Sunday afternoon — and wouldn’t you know it, the free Palestine folks decided to demonstrate.
Strangely enough, even though the conference had made plenty of news, there weren’t many people on hand to cover the demonstration itself.
In fact, the most coverage the event got was through the following clip, which went viral on the conservative side of social media.
“The Holocaust. Remember the Holocaust. The Holocaust will come back to you,” a man could be heard yelling.
“Hitler will come back,” he added.
If some asshole neo-Nazi was chanting for a Holocaust outside of #AIPAC, it would be plastered all over the news 24/7
But not this video…pic.twitter.com/dD4tniHlnl
— Cameron Gray (@Cameron_Gray) March 2, 2020
To be fair, I’m not entirely sure this guy isn’t an agent provocateur or plant of some sort (or “false flag” if you’re into Infowars-y type language). That fact might have caused a few people to pass this one by — which would have been a mistake.
Here’s the full video, which is an almost shockingly obscene display, even given how I remember the free Palestine brigade being:
Firstly, for the uninitiated: “From the river to the sea / Palestine will be free” is a favorite slogan of terror group/Palestinian political party Hamas.
What it means, essentially, is that everything from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea will belong to Palestine — i.e., the elimination of Israel.
And then at 1:25, there’s someone with a crude homemade sign (most of them are, but this one especially so) saying “Voting Rigged By Jewish Media.” An opportunity was lost to history by not asking this giant of the intelligentsia what was meant by this placard.
There were plenty of f-bombs to be had and most of the birds I sighted during the video came from the hands of protesters.
Just in case you didn’t get the whole “from the river to the sea” message, there was also an emphatic “death to Israel” chant.
There was the usual contingent of Jews who are against the state of Israel, either because of political or religious qualms about it.
A young child on his father’s shoulders, holding a megaphone and leading a “the state of Israel must go” chant, was a particularly low point, both for the protest and for Greta Thunbergism in general.
In short, the second Holocaust part — if it wasn’t some saboteur engaging in performance art — wasn’t that far off from the general tenor of the event.
This isn’t to directly connect Bernie Sanders’ rhetoric with the actions by nutters in the free Palestine crowd.
But imagine this happening on the other side.
Imagine a crowd this full of hate, except the fringes of the same side President Donald Trump is on.
This footage would play endlessly on CNN and MSNBC.
It is worth noting that this is potentially going to be a source of major division in the Democratic Party in the coming years.
Bernie Sanders isn’t responsible for this kind of anti-Semitism, yet this part of the leftist fringe is becoming louder and more insistent. They’re demanding a place at the table. Whether or not they get one — whether or not this bile is repackaged into something more acceptable and put into mainstream circulation — is up to the Democrats.
In a way, it’s already happened.
Sen. Sanders doesn’t flirt with this sort of thing, AIPAC-baiter though he may be.
Rep. Omar does. Calmly accusing American Jewry of dual loyalties — as she did shortly after the “all about the Benjamins” tweet, just in case you didn’t know how loudly the dogma lived within her — is a dignified way of fitting overt bigoted rage into respectably covert dog whistling.
Fellow “squad” member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has used similarly problematic language, talking about the Israeli “occupation.”
At the same time, she openly admits she’s “not the expert” on these things.
These are two of Sen. Sanders’ biggest surrogates on the campaign trail.
People like this should be confined to their natural habitat.
Like the LaRouche people, they should be quarantined to the streets, shouting and hollering while they hand out crude fliers furtively printed at someone’s office because they can’t afford Kinko’s.
When the infestation reaches the halls of Congress and lurks at the edges of the campaign of the Democratic front-runner for president, Americans should be gravely concerned.
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