Harris: ‘Criticizing Israel because it’s the Jewish State is antisemitic’

During her speech at the conference, Harris referred to the danger of far-right antisemitism, but failed to mention attacks on Jews perpetrated by Black Lives Matters rioters and pro-Palestinian activists.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Vice-president Kamala Harris condemned antisemitism and criticism of Israel fueled by hatred of Jews during the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now virtual summit on Sunday.

Acknowledging a spike in antisemitic incidents in the U.S., Harris said in a taped statement that “sadly, we know antisemitism is not a relic of the past. In fact, in recent years, the Jewish American community has faced an alarming rise in hate crime.”

She gave a definition of antisemitism which explicitly included biased criticism of the Jewish State.

“I want to be very clear about this: When Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or their identity, when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred, that is antisemitism and that is unacceptable,” she said.

The remarks were likely an attempt at damage control after Harris faced widespread backlash last month for appearing to agree with a college student who said Israel commits “ethnic genocide.”

“This is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard,” Harris told the student, without challenging her assertion about Israel.

During her speech at the conference, Harris referred to the danger of far-right antisemitism.

“Four years ago, white supremacists descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, spreading hatred and instigating violence. Three years ago, we suffered the most deadly attack on the American Jewish community in the history of our nation at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” she said.

However, Harris failed to mention anti-Jewish hatred coming from the left end of the political spectrum, such as an antisemitic pogrom which occurred in Los Angeles in June 2020.

On the heels of protests over the killing of George Floyd, Black Lives Matters protesters rampaged through Jewish neighborhoods in the City of Angels and vandalized and robbed synagogues, kosher supermarkets, and Jewish-owned businesses including pharmacies, jewelry stores, and Judaica shops.

She also did not mention violent attacks on Jews committed by pro-Palestinian activists in cities across the U.S. during May 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls Gaza-Israel clash.

Harris, whose husband, Douglas Emhoff, is Jewish, has tried in the past to reach out to Jewish voters by playing up her cultural connections.

She said that her husband’s children call her “Momala,” a portmanteau of her first name and a Yiddish term of endearment, mamaleh.

Harris’ attempt at explaining the meaning of the Hanukkah holiday during a December 2020 video was widely mocked, most notably from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.

Her video reduced the essence of the anti-assimilationist holiday, which celebrates a military victory, to a “celebration of light,” and critics said it was clear that Harris did not have a basic understanding of the festival.

In a 2019 video, Harris is seen imitating her mother-in-law with a distinctly Jewish-Brooklyn accent.