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You’ve probably heard this defense proffered for progressives who support Hamas in its war against Israel, particularly as it pertains to the so-called “squad” in the U.S. House of Representatives: Being against the Jewish state or Zionism doesn’t mean one is anti-Semitic.
Whether this is true or a line for leftist activists and their liberal fellow travelers to hide behind is a matter of debate. However, when it comes to the “squad,” it couldn’t be more clear: These are anti-Semites, and their records on the matter before and after the attacks of Oct. 7 are worse than you think.
Before we commence, it’s probably worth noting what the “squad” is and who comprises it. The original four members, all women who were elected in 2018, are Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Since then, four other hard-left Democrats have been added as a kind of second-team “squad:” Reps. Jamaal Bowman of New York, Cori Bush of Missouri, Greg Casar of Texas and Summer Lee of Pennsylvania. All eight refused to vote for a resolution condemning Hamas for the attacks of Oct. 7.
It’s worth noting that pretty much from the start of the “squad’s” history, there were credible allegations of anti-Semitism, particularly involving Omar. First, just weeks after her inauguration in 2019, she was forced to apologize for a 2012 tweet in which she accused Israel of “hypnotiz[ing] the world.”
“Those unfortunate words were the only words I could think about expressing at that moment,” she said at the time, according to the Times of Israel. However, she came close to being censured after a series of similar remarks which echoed anti-Semitic tropes; she accused Congress of being bought off by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (“all about the Benjamins,” as she put it, implying that Jewish money was purchasing American influence) and then she accused certain American Jews of having dual loyalties.
That didn’t earn her a censure, although she came close to it; an eventual resolution prompted by her comments was so watered down by House Democrats that it was practically meaningless. Nor did Omar face censure in 2021 for tweeting that Israel and Hamas were essentially equivalent.
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