Analysis: Democrats at the crossroads – will the party remain a home for Jews?

America’s Democratic Party leadership must deal with the budding weeds of anti-Semitism now or risk going the way of Britain’s Labour.

By Daniel Krygier, World Israel News

The American Democratic Party has traditionally seen itself as an embodiment of tolerance and a natural political home for minorities. As a result, generations of U.S. Jews have loyally voted for the Democratic Party. However, dark clouds of radicalization have wafted into the party’s halls. A growing tolerance for intolerance, especially Islamist anti-Semitism, raises a disturbing question mark as to whether it will remain a viable home for Jews. 

The ascent of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bigots, including freshman Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, is bringing the Democrats to a crossroads – will the party reject further radicalization or will it go down the slippery slope of bigotry and embrace rank anti-Semitic British-style Corbynism?

Some would scoff at the idea that the Democratic Party could go the way of Britain’s Labour party. But look at what happened there. Little over a decade ago, Labour couldn’t be more mainstream, headed by leaders like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Now it is a party of crackpots and anti-Semites.

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Under the leadership of its current leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the party has embraced the ideology of the extreme global left. Anti-Americanism and anti-Jewish bigotry, twin characteristics of leftist radicalism  have enveloped Britain’s Labour.

British Jews, like American Jews, tend to be liberal, and they voted loyally for the Labour Party. Now they’re leaving Labour in droves. The British Labour party is a window into the dark future that awaits the U.S, Democratic party if it does not face down the radical, anti-Semitic threat bubbling up from within. 

The signs so far are not good. The Democrats initially rushed to Omar’s and Tlaib’s defense, denying there was anything anti-Semitic about earlier remarks they had made. Only after much foot-dragging did they condemn Omar’s classic anti-Semitic trope about AIPAC buying influence, which she then followed with a half-hearted apology – one the president correctly called out as “lame.”

Democrats will be tempted to ignore anti-Semitism even more as the U.S. Muslim population grows. It’s still relatively small compared to the much larger number of European Muslims. However, the U.S. Muslim population is growing fast and is expected to outnumber American Jews within a generation. If Tlaib and Omar are any indication, it is a population with an anti-Semitism problem.

However, that doesn’t mean Democrats must kow-tow to it. Indeed, many Muslim Americans do not share the radical Judeo-phobic worldview of Omar and Tlaib. They merely want to improve their socio-economic situation in America, to get ahead and give their children a better future. It’s up to the Democrats to decide whether to pander to the darker forces within that population or to appeal to the better angels of their nature.

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As a result, the Democratic party should resist the populist extremist positions of Omar and Tlaib in favor of genuine co-existence and tolerance. The short-term gains the Democrats may feel from brushing away the anti-Jewish bigotry of their newest members risks harming the long-term viability of their party.

As the saying goes, what starts with the Jews does not end with the Jews. This is the reason why the radicalization of the Democratic party should concern all Americans and not just Jews. Unlike the dire situation in Britain’s Labour party, the radicalization of the Democrats is far from a done deal. But to stop it, party leaders must take action now.