Most House Democrats are comfortable condemning anti-Semitism in the form of a broad resolution; they just aren’t willing to condemn the anti-Semitic members in their own party.
On Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois appeared on CNN to discuss an anti-Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions resolution he is co-sponsoring in the House. While he spoke in no unclear terms about the anti-Semitic history and motives of the BDS movement, he was unwilling to comment on his colleagues who support it.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 23, 2019
Speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash, Schneider said that “the movement itself — its intent, its goals — are anti-Semitic.”
Bash asked, “So, if BDS is bigoted, are those who support it, your colleagues, bigoted?”
Cue the incoherent response.
“There are a lot of people who support the BDS movement, but they may not necessarily understand the intent or the expression of how BDS movement is actually — what it’s fighting for,” Schneider said.
Bash continued to press the congressman for a straight answer, bringing up progressive Rep. Rashida Tlaib, an outspoken BDS supporter, and reminding Schneider that he had explained the history of BDS to Tlaib before.
Schneider wouldn’t answer directly regarding his Democratic colleague.
“She has her narrative and she has her experience,” Schneider said.
When Bash questioned him a third time, the lawmaker dodged once again, going back to the same talking point about the BDS movement.
“I’m not going to subscribe [anti-Semitism] necessarily to [the movement’s] supporters,” Schneider responded before listing the “anti-Semitic means” BDS employs.
Bash put the question to Schneider one more time in the most candid terms:
“I don’t want to beat this anymore, but if somebody supports a movement that you just very clearly laid out you believe has anti-Semitic means and is an anti-Semitic movement, how do you disconnect or separate the people who support it from the movement itself?” Bash asked.
“Very simply,” Schneider replied. “The fact that they support this movement, I believe they have [an] understanding of what they believe the movement does without fulling understanding the impact of it.”
Schneider’s jumbled answers are baffling: Does he really think that Rep. Tlaib doesn’t understand how BDS operates or what its “impact” is, even after he explained the movement’s origin and history to her?
Like so many other Democratic politicians, Schneider is simply unwilling to reprimand his colleagues.
He fully understands that no amount of “narrative” or “experience” excuses supporting an anti-Semitic cause.
While his resolution passed in the House on Tuesday with overwhelming bipartisan support (only 17 members, including Rep. Tlaib, voted against the measure), Democrats continue to refuse to call out by name the anti-Semitic lawmakers in their midst.
Until they do so, anti-Semitism will continue to enjoy a free pass in U.S. congressional politics — at least among Democrats.
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