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Is Jon Chait an Antisemite ? He says yes.

Summary:
People who quarrel with those with whom they mostly agree and focus on the “to be sure” paragraph of a column with which they mostly agree are a nuisance. I am such a nuisance. Jon Chait wrote an article noting that the GOP accepts antisemitism and the Democrats don’t. He makes his case. However, he has to deal with the case of Ilhan Omar and (among others) Jonathan Chait. I am going to quote at some length “A couple of years ago, Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar made some ugly comments about American supporters of Israel having “allegiance to a foreign country.” What was more significant is what happened next. Omar said, “I unequivocally apologize,” and then her party voted for a House resolution denouncing “the pernicious myth of dual

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People who quarrel with those with whom they mostly agree and focus on the “to be sure” paragraph of a column with which they mostly agree are a nuisance. I am such a nuisance. Jon Chait wrote an article noting that the GOP accepts antisemitism and the Democrats don’t. He makes his case. However, he has to deal with the case of Ilhan Omar and (among others) Jonathan Chait. I am going to quote at some length

“A couple of years ago, Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar made some ugly comments about American supporters of Israel having “allegiance to a foreign country.” What was more significant is what happened next. Omar said, “I unequivocally apologize,” and then her party voted for a House resolution denouncing “the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance, especially in the context of support for the United States–Israel alliance” as a form of antisemitism. Omar supported the resolution.

Conservatives like to bring up Omar, especially when a conservative says something antisemitic, which occurs with increasing frequency. Even if you accept the parallel between Omar’s most offensive statements and the kinds of wild antisemitic conspiracy theories that circulate in right-wing circles — I find the equivalence strained — the comparison breaks down completely when you consider how the two parties have responded to these offenses.

Chait is one of the people who has strained himself into a pretzel attempting to make the case that Omar’s comments were anti-semitic. The comparison not just strained, it is complete falsehood.

I note that Omar did not say that, in general, American supporters of Israel have “allegiance to a foreign country” (quick hint if 5 words are quoted with no context, it’s time to check the context). Googling for context I find my first hit is another column by Chait (this partly shows I am a Chait fan and Google knows — everything about me). The headline was“Ilhan Omar Accuses Israel Hawks of Allegiance to a Foreign Country” hmmm there is no distinction between “supporters of Israel” and “Israel Hawks” which must be quite a surprise to loyal Israeli citizens who belong to “Peace Now” (including those who participation with what might have been the largest turnout as a fraction of a countries population).

Omar claimed that some people demand that she declare loyalty to Israel — there is no reason to doubt that she is discussing her personal experience (there was no reason to doubt that she would be asked about her support of Israel even before she mentioned the conversations). I have seen no quotation of Omar in which she speculates about the religious faith or religious heritage of those who demand loyalty to Israel. It was often noted (presented as a correction of an error ascribed to Omar with no evidence) that the vast majority of US citizens now demand loyalty to Israel are Evangelical Christian biblical literalists who believe that God gave Israel to the Jews (definitely including at least some land East of the Jordan) and who believe that the land must be restored to the Jews for Jesus to return.

I would consider the anti-semitic position to be the assumption that Jews should be and naturally would be loyat to Israel (say addressing Jewish Americans and referring to the Netanyahu as “your prime minister” (no link needed, you know who I am quoting). Jon Chait agrees denouncing Donald Trump of antisemitism here

“Also this week, Donald Trump once again complained about American Jews being ungrateful and lacking the good sense of either their Israeli compatriots or Evangelical Christians. This is one of Trump’s favorite themes to make about the Jews, along with noting Jews are good with money, naturally loyal to Israel, and own Congress. All these comments are far worse than the worst thing Omar ever said about Jewish people, but the idea Trump would ever apologize, or that Republicans would even ask him to, let alone vote to condemn his remarks, is beyond implausible.”

Hmm it seems that Mr Chait just identified, and named, an Israel hawk who demands loyalty to Israel. Fortunately Donald Trump Sr is singular, so he has not endorsed the “s” in “hawks” but he has basically said the same thing Omar said. She was scolded and apologized. He will not be.

We all know why. Chait is not suspected of anti-semitism so people don’t try to read between the lines of his not explicitly and literally anti-semitic statements. Omra is Moslem and wears a hijab, so she is automatically suspected of antisemitism (an accusation of religious prejudice based on religious prejudice). She complained about this (as is perfectly natural) and was denounced by her party and felt the need to apologize and vote for the resolution rejecting that which she said, well didn’t actually exactly say, but you know what those people think.

In any case, by his own standards, Jonathan Chait has declared that Jonathan Chait is guilty of anit-semitism (while noting that comarisons of Jonathan Chait and Marjory Taylore Greene are “strained”).

Robert Waldmann
Robert J. Waldmann is a Professor of Economics at Univeristy of Rome “Tor Vergata” and received his PhD in Economics from Harvard University. Robert runs his personal blog and is an active contributor to Angrybear.

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