Jewish Republicans must continue to reject antisemitism on the Right

Jewish Republicans must continue to reject antisemitism on the Right

Last month, a flyer began circulating for a fundraising event featuring far-right extremist Nick Fuentes honoring Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar. Fuentes, an avowed antisemite and racist, once compared the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust to Cookie Monster eating cookies while claiming “The math doesn’t seem to add up” when referring to the six million Jews murdered. Fuentes has come out against interracial marriage, is supportive of segregation, and in a video back in 2019, was quoted as saying, “Enough with the Jim Crow stuff. Who cares? Oh, they had to drink out of a different water fountain. Big f***ing deal.” Responding to the controversy, Gosar defended his decision by saying he “is not sure why everyone is freaking out” and feigned ignorance a day later, stating “I have no idea what’s going on. That’s news to me. There’s no fundraiser scheduled on Friday.”

The invitation, featuring a grinning Gosar and Fuentes alongside one another, did not specify when the event would occur and merely notes that details promoting the get-together would be announced on July 1. Yet specifics surrounding location and timing are immaterial, considering this will be Gosar’s second appearance with the far-right extremist. Last February, the 22-year old’s vile propagandizing earned him the backing of Gosar, who agreed to be the keynote speaker at the America First Conference, which was organized by Fuentes.

Immediately following reports involving the congressman’s partnering with Fuentes, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) repudiated Gosar by tweeting, “This is reprehensible @RepGosar. Your association with Fuentes and this event are inexcusable. You must immediately cancel this event, apologize and denounce antisemite and Holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes.” 

To its credit, the organization previously reversed its policy to not involve itself in primary races back in 2020, when it successfully endorsed Iowa Republican Randy Feenstra against former congressman Steve King, whose repeated nativist remarks and promotion of neo-Nazis on Twitter placed him far outside the Republican mainstream. The coalition also denounced Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose propagation of offensive antisemitic conspiracy theories resulted in the RJC announcing, “We opposed her as a candidate, and we continue to oppose her now.”

In the past, the rebuke of said right-wing agitators by a leading Jewish group would have garnered minimal attention and been viewed as a fait accompli. Yet today, as the maligning of Israel moves to the foreground of progressive activism in what has become a partisan political climate, many Jewish organizations, specifically those on the left, remain unwilling to confront their respective party outliers. Institutions such as the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) and J Street, which bills itself as “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” are reticent to engage with Democratic lawmakers over their open anti-Jewish hostility. 

LAST MONTH, Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minnesota) preposterous accusation that Jewish colleagues critical of her “haven’t been engaging in seeking justice around the world” was met with silence by the JDCA and J Street. Only following Omar backtracking her comments did JDCA CEO Halie Soifer release a tweet praising Omar for recognizing “the ties that bind the Jewish, Black and Muslim communities, including our shared commitment to justice and equality.”

The congresswoman’s trolling of Jewish Democrats was preceded by a tweet earlier in June in which she equated the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban. In the immediate aftermath of Omar’s analogizing, more than 50 progressive Jewish organizations released a statement chastising the 12 Democratic House members who requested “clarification” from Omar and accused the lawmakers of launching a “smear campaign” against the congresswoman. 

The cunning ability of Omar and her ideological colleagues on the Left to demonize Israel, and antagonize Jews so freely and with growing frequency, is evidence of what transpires when the escalation of hatred against Jews is met with tepid platitudes and lavished praise.

It bears mentioning that unlike American Jewry’s left-wing detractors, Gosar and Greene are friendly to Israel. During Israel’s most recent war with Hamas, Gosar released a statement affirming, “If you are Israel’s enemy, then you are an enemy of the United States,” and Greene has come out in support of US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council due to its bias against the Jewish state. The refusal of Jewish Republicans to view pro-Israel sentiments as a neutralizing factor in antisemitic tendencies is a critical point and key to preserving Jewish integrity and safety. 

Burying one’s head in response to a dangerous brand of conservatism threatens to lead the Republican Party down a similar path to that of the Democrats. Today, the number of far-left elected officials who are openly antisemitic has reached a critical mass, effectively silencing moderates within the party. This phenomenon is proven by the behavior of congressional elders such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) whose whitewashing of attacks in recent weeks against Jews on American streets and in Israeli cities is reflective of the Democratic Party’s leftward lurch.

As it stands today, Republican lawmakers are American Jewry’s most ardent defenders in the halls of Congress. Jewish conservatives must preserve this alliance by cultivating relationships with legislators for whom a commitment to a robust pro-Israel foreign policy agenda coupled with a devotion to conservative principles are enhanced by fostering a spirit of inclusion within the party. The accommodation of obstructive views will eventually derail Republican support for the Jewish community. Once a bastion of liberal support for Israel, the failure of liberal Jewish institutions to fight back against a virulent strain of left-wing antisemitism is exacting a terrible toll on the Democratic establishment. For the sake of the future of the Republican Party, Jewish conservatives must do better.

The author is a writer and pro-Israel advocate who resides in New York.

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