Is it Antisemitic to Condemn Trump’s Tweets?

Perhaps the most controversial thing about Donald Trump’s recent Tweets aimed at the gang of four (aka Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley) is that he linked loyalty to the United States and American patriotism with support for Israel. It is obvious that support for Israel is an incredibly important and traditionally bipartisan issue among mainstream (and even many fringe) US politicians, but in so dramatically linking loyalties with the United States to support for Israel, Trump threw down the gauntlet in true Trump fashion. Thus, it is now clear that there is no wiggle room. Whilst one can be a loyal American and ostensibly dislike Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Japan or South Korea, a line is clearly drawn when it comes to Israel as Trump made perfectly obvious in his unambiguous Tweets.

To be clear, I am not drawing a moral conclusion regarding the state of politics, political rhetoric and geopolitical relations in the US, I am merely observing the situation as it is. Since Trump removed the last bits of ambiguity from the US-Israel alliance and the need for patriotic Americans to support it, the next question becomes: “is opposition to Israel tantamount to antisemitism?” On the face of it, most people would agree that the criticism of a state is not the same thing as criticism of a sociologically established group of people, but many others particularly in Britain have found that much criticism of Israel is in fact tantamount to the proliferation of anti-Jewish thought. As such, just as in the United States it is apparently appropriate to support Israel lest one wants to be called anti-American, in Europe, it is probably best not to criticise Israel lest one should be confused for promoting hatred against Jews.

As such, Donald Trump’s accusation that the gang of four are anti-Israel could potentially be extrapolated to mean that Trump feels that the Congresswomen in question are also antisemitic. As such, are the Democratic members of the US House of Representatives (and four Republicans) who voted to condemn Trump’s Tweets also antisemitic? I’m inclined to believe that the answer is no, but others may have a different point of view. That being said, in a country like the United States, the interpretation of the Democrat’s support for the gang of four in this respect could clearly effect voting patterns during the 2020 election and those beyond.

I for one do not believe that the gang of four are specifically antisemitic but instead are representative of a support for Palestine becoming a leftist fashion statement in wealthy western countries. As such, this kind of crude virtue signalling on behalf of Palestine is not genuine support for Palestine and nor is it a hatred of Israelis (or Jews). The politics of the gang of four and those like them is simply too crass to have any real meaning beyond being habitually annoying to anyone from a more moderate political background (including political moderates who support Palestine).

The real shame is that in the western world (quiet unlike in the Middle East and Asia) debates surrounding Palestine and Israel have become reduced to the level of supporting a football team. People scream and shout, people insult and defame but ultimately nothing of substance is said or done. The real danger of the gang of four besides what I personally believe to be their anti-Americanism is that they represent a trend in western politics that is simply far too radical, contrarian and upsetting to those with moderate views.

In this sense, far from going back to “where they came from”, the gang of four are in the right place – at the heart of a western world that is rapidly losing its mind.

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